Learn how to best manage foxes and wild dogs and deal with their impact on livestock businesses and communities.
– [Jo] Welcome, everyone,
to tonight's webinar
about best practice predator management.
My name's Jo Cameron.
I'm the regional manager
for the south west Victorian
meat and wool team from
Agriculture Victoria.
Tonight's webinar is proudly
supported by BestWool/BestLamb.
BestWool/BestLamb is a partnership
between Agriculture Victoria
and Australian Wool Innovation Limited
which provides a network for facilitating
information exchange,
enabling producers to
implement improvements
in key aspects of their business.
Our presenter, Greg Mifsud,
will be using a PowerPoint presentation
during tonight's seminar.
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So tonight's agenda.
Greg Mifsud, the national wild
dog management coordinator
from the Centre of
Invasive Species Solutions,
will give us an overview
of predator ecology
and best practice techniques
for management within farming enterprises.
Greg has extensive knowledge
working with farmers and communities
on collaborative approaches
to the management of predators
and dealing with their impact
on businesses and communities.
I'd like to thank Greg for
his involvement tonight.
I'll now hand over to Greg
to continue with the presentation.
Over to you, Greg.
– [Greg] Thank you, Jo.
Look, firstly just like
to acknowledge, I guess,
the industry groups that
fund my national position.
You've probably seen most of those
at the bottom of the screen,
but AWI, MLA, WoolProducers Australia,
Sheep Producers Australia,
Cattle Council also chip in,
and Animal Health Australia
also funds the project.
So they've kindly provided the funds
to allow me to conduct this
work in a role nationally
to assist landholder
groups managing predators
from around the country.
But tonight, I'll move on to
the next slide in a minute,
but we'll be talking
primarily about managing foxes
in Victorian landscapes.
I'll also cover off a little
bit on wild dog management,
but wild dogs require a bit
different management than foxes.
Foxes primarily impact on certain
stages of lamb production,
primarily at reproductive
stages in lambing, whereas dogs,
which is why they have such a huge impact
on sheep production particularly,
is that they will have
impact on all age groups
and all classes of sheep
from lambs through to
ewes to wethers to rams,
so their management
requires much more intensive
long-term management than foxes.
Foxes can be managed to limit impacts
to the assets that
you're trying to protect,
which in this case is probably lambs,
at certain periods within your annual
property management plans
but also in terms of their ecology.
So if we move to slide number two,
it's probably nothing new to most of you,
but foxes arrived in
Victoria back in the 1850s.
I grew up in Ballan just
outside of Ballarat,
and these things were
introduced down near Werribee
and they spread fairly
quickly across the country
and now occupy 70% of the place.
They spread very fast on the back of
the rabbit movements across the country
back in the early 1900s
and are found basically in
just about every landscape
except for the arid north and
tropical north of the country
where the climate conditions are probably
far too difficult for them to exist.
Their impacts are varied,
but estimates nationally on their
impact to the environment and the economy
is around $227 million,
but that's probably fairly conservative
based on the economic
models that are used.
And as is pretty well-known,
foxes are also implicated in
some of the major declines
of our native species,
particularly mammals
and other small insects,
reptiles and birds.
They're primarily carnivorous
but they also are very
effective scavengers
and feed on a range of
carrion and also rubbish
which gives them a
propensity to be managed
through our baiting programs.
They breed once a year primarily
between June and October
depending on what part of
the country you are in,
but juvenile dispersal
occurs in late spring
and continues until the
next breeding season,
and it's at that time that we
can target control to some of,
target some of those juvenile animals
moving through the landscape.
And their dispersal, unlike dogs
which can be quite extensive,
dispersal in foxes is
usually relatively small
and less than 50 kilometers,
but it is dependent on
the population densities
in that location,
and also is highly dependent
on how much food's around.
So more greater food availability,
the more foxes it can support
and the less need that there is to move.
So once again it's all highly variable,
and we'll talk about
that as we move forward.
So progressing on to slide
three, fox densities.
I've had to adjust the red lot,
I used to have another
terminology there but I'll,
I went with could be a lot
more out there than you think.
The average density for foxes in Australia
in most landscapes is around
four per square kilometer.
That can increase, as
I said earlier, up to,
we've had some estimates that
are around seven per kilometer
for areas around Orange
in New South Wales.
But if we work on the average
of four per kilometer,
in a circle that's a two kilometer radius
around that homestead in
the green there for instance
which is 13 square kilometers,
we're looking at around 50 foxes.
If you increase the
diameter of that circle
to three kilometers,
which increases your
area to 76 kilometers,
you're looking at around 312 foxes.
And if you go out further to 10 Ks away,
you're looking at densities up and around
1250 per square kilometer.
So from a management perspective
that means that, you know,
we have to put out enough control
to manage at least four foxes per K,
and if you haven't got an extensive
coordinator program around you
then we need to look at sustained control
to manage foxes that might
move back into your property
after you undertake your control program.
So moving on to slide four.
Impacts.
You know, apart from the in
your face lamb survival issue
and primary predation,
attacks on live lambs and to
a lesser extent adult sheep
in foxes,
but we also are seeing
considerable amounts
of disease being spread
as well as parasites in some populations
which impacts on reproductive
success and ewe health.
So they're some of the
lesser-known impacts.
But from my experience and working with
collaborative groups of
growers around the country,
there's also, I think,
a range of lesser-known secondary impacts,
that working with AWI and
MLA through BestWool/BestLamb
to try and investigate it,
these are the increased risks
of mis-mothering from stress
after lambing from high
predator numbers and activity.
As we know, Merino ewes aren't the best at
mothering up at the best of times,
and they're even worse when
we've got twins on the ground.
So any additional stress in the paddock
from high numbers of foxes floating around
looking for a cheap feed,
or the odd wild dog floating around,
or even pigs in some
of our northern areas,
could be enough just to cause
that mis-mothering of that extra lamb
which is always gonna end up reducing
our reproductive success
and our weaning rates.
We also see in some places the, you know,
continual harassment of your flock,
by particularly wild dogs but also pigs,
can cause reduced fleece weights
and affect growth weights,
particularly if you've got lambs
and you're trying to
put weight on for sale.
And we also see in some locations
where some of these predators like foxes,
and particularly dogs
in arid environments,
where they take up
residence on a water point
can greatly affect the grazing
movements of your stock
and force your sheep and other livestock
into areas of the paddock
that are potentially less productive,
and lack of water or so affects
their growth rates and
reproductive output.
So there's a range of lesser-known impacts
that we probably overlook,
that I think in time we
need to start looking
more closely at what
those effects might be.
And so if move on to slide number five,
this pie graph has been developed by
Sabine Schmoelzl from CSIRO
and it's based on some data
there from Refshauge et al.,
but it provides a pie graph of
the various causes of lamb mortality
that were detected through
the AWI sentinel flocks,
and I think BestWool/BestLamb
and DPI Victoria
had a bit to do with these,
and there's no surprises
there that, you know,
dystocia, stillborn, birth injuries
cause considerable impacts
on reproductive success.
Primary predation from foxes
in terms of killing live lambs
equates to about 7% in these studies.
However, in talking to people involved
in those sentinel flock trials,
some properties did experience
up to 20% lamb mortality
through primary predation,
but because the data was
collated over a number of years
and then averaged out across those years,
those figures came back to 7%.
So annually your losses
through primary predation
could be much higher
depending on the densities
of foxes in that location.
Also it would depend significantly on
ewe conditions, a lamb's
condition at birth
and then seasonal conditions.
So it's something to take into account
that it could be much higher
than the industry standards
currently predict.
But the other factors
I'd like to indicate is
that additional 30% as a
result of the starvation,
exposure and then there's another.
And once again, this just
highlights the potential
for high densities of foxes
or predators in paddocks
to be causing some of that mis-mothering
that I talked about previously,
and then the secondary
results being, you know,
of starvation or exposure
and death regardless.
The pictures on the sides there,
just trying to determine
the causes of death.
The top slide there, that lamb,
and his ear's chewed
off and tail chewed off,
is classic sort of external
signs of fox predation.
But if you go to the extra
level of opening the carcass up
and having a look inside,
you can see in that middle
one the lungs of a young lamb,
the top lung is pink and has been aerated,
so it's had oxygen
pumping through the tissue
and as such is likely to have been killed
by a fox after it was
active and, you know,
on the ground running around.
Compared to the one below
that which is still dark.
It hasn't had any blood really
or air pumping through that tissue
and it's possibly been stillborn
and then chewed on as carrion by a fox.
And then down below,
it's probably a bit hard to see in a slide
depending on how big
you've got it magnified,
but you've got the intestines there
with milk in the small
intestines, you know,
quite clearly shows that
the animal's been alive,
there's been suckling,
it's probably suffered a
mortality as a cause of predation.
So if we move through I guess
in terms of what do we do,
what are the current control
techniques available to us?
If we move to slide six,
our current control techniques
haven't really changed a lot
in the past 150, 200 years.
We're still using baits.
We're burying 'em and we've
got a variety of baits
available to us now compared
to the good old days.
Our shooting is probably
one of the aspects
that has had some major
technological advances,
from high tech callers now
compared to the old button whistles
we used to shoot foxes with a .22 with
back in Ballan when I was a kid,
to high-intensity spotlights,
and now we're moving to
this thermal imaging scopes
which allows us to pick up a lot of foxes
that we don't generally
see in a spotlight.
And from what I've been told,
for every one you see in a spotlight,
there's possibly two or three out there
that never look at the light.
So these new technologies,
although expensive,
are providing us with additional options
to pick up those other
foxes that we don't see
when we're out in the paddock.
Additionally on the next
slide, on seven, you know,
we've still got exclusion fencing.
They're much more high tech now
than the old rabbit wire
fences we used to have.
They're particularly
effective for wild dogs
provided that we maintain their integrity.
They're reasonably effective for foxes,
although foxes will climb unlike dogs,
and I've seen foxes back
at home on a deer farm
climb over an eight foot fence.
So regardless of having fences in place,
we still need to apply
some form of control
inside those fences to limit any foxes
that might get through those defenses.
Trapping,
and I'm not gonna talk a
lot about fox trapping today
'cause it is a fairly
specialized discipline,
but traps have changed significantly
from the good old days of serrated jawed
leg hold traps and rabbit traps.
We've moved further along
the lines of the fur trade
and internationally
recognized and approved traps
that are used in Europe
and in North America.
They generally have rubber jaws on 'em,
otherwise they're offset so there's a gap
between the steel jaws
so that we don't see
them crushing the bones
in the legs of animals,
and they're generally a lot smaller.
So rather than hit high up on a leg bone
like the old Lanes dog traps,
they get the animal just above the foot
and utilize the thickening of the foot
and the toes beneath that
to stop the feet coming out.
So very effective, much more humane,
and at this point in time
we've got a lot more leeway
with animal welfare groups
in terms of their use.
We also looked at guardian animals
for a range of situations and landscapes,
and they all worked to varying degrees
for different species of predators
depending on where you are
and how much effort you put in.
We see alpacas that I've
seen used for foxes,
and could work quite
effectively in small groups
and small paddocks,
aren't so good for wild dogs
and they tend to panic at the
sight of more than one dog.
so various success there.
Guardian donkeys have been
used in various places
to reasonable effect.
Once again, there are
some tricks and knacks
about getting that to work.
One donkey is usually all
you need within a paddock.
If you put any more than
one donkey in there,
they start to hang out together
instead of keeping an eye on stocks.
So once again, it's not fail-safe.
And then there's been
a lotta press, I guess,
about guardian dogs and their use,
and from my experience
they can be quite effective with foxes,
once again in small paddocks.
They're quite reasonably effective
with wild dogs in certain areas,
but once again it varies significantly
on the number of stocks,
the size of the paddocks, the landscape.
The image that's there
is from a sheep property
in northwestern Queensland.
Used to be the northernmost
sheep producer in the country,
up at Hughenden on the Flinders Highway.
As you can see, extremely open country,
and the dogs can see the sheep
from one end of the paddock to the other
and can see any signs of,
or threats, danger to wild dogs,
and are pretty quick to respond.
But once we get into Victoria
and in some of those areas
where we've got broken
country, a lot of timber,
we've got undulating landscapes
where sheep are moving
around in smaller groups,
it's much harder for them to manage
to protect all of those stocks.
So once again, varying degrees of success
and the application has
a fairly large impact
on how they work.
And then we've got Canid Pest Ejectors
which are a relatively new tool
that we've had registered
in the last five years,
and I'll talk a little
bit more about that later,
about their advantages
and how in the Victorian landscape
they can be very useful.
So moving on to slide eight,
in terms of developing a control program
there's some really key issues here
that I wanna sort of talk about,
particularly from a wild
dog management perspective
and a collaborative perspective,
but being proactive instead
of reactive is really the key.
Implementing control before
predators have an impact
is ultimately your best form of defense.
Leaving control til the last of the foxes
are in your paddock or
lambs are on the ground
really isn't gonna be
at any advantage to you.
And once again from a wild
dog management perspective,
trying to manage them
before they start killing
is the key to the success of any program.
Being targeted is extremely important.
More is not necessarily better,
and chucking out more
baits for the sake of it
isn't necessarily gonna mean
you're gonna have a better outcome
in terms of predator management.
And where you put those baits is gonna
have a fairly large
impact on the consequences
in terms of whether they get taken or not,
and I'll talk a little bit more about that
further in the presentation.
From a fox management perspective,
we know and research has shown
that we need between five
to 10 baits per 100 hectares
depending on the density
of foxes we've got,
and in most agricultural areas
that's probably the minimum.
Once again you have to be careful about
how close you place them.
If you place them too close foxes can
and will pick up more than one bait
and they can hide another bait,
so you want to place them
at least 250 meters apart
so there's a fair bit
of room between baits
so they don't get to find
too many in a short distance.
Once again,
effective management of
both wild dogs and foxes
requires the use of all forms of control,
and primarily if we can get the assistance
and work together with
our neighboring properties
then that's gonna have a
significant benefit to our lambing.
And non-lethal control
techniques like guardian animals
might be part of your mix
depending on what suits
your property management
and depends on your production
type and your location.
So no form of control should be excluded,
but I will say that no
single form of control
will manage your problem either.
And shooting alone, I put
this here because, you know,
I'm an avid hunter,
but all the properties
where I hunt and shoot,
we still get problems with
animals even after we shoot.
So shooting alone is
not the golden bullet.
There is no golden bullet
unfortunately in pest management,
so I'm here to talk about a range of tools
that you can apply as part
of an integrated program.
It is effective, and I will say this,
that particularly with the
new technology coming out,
it's extremely effective
for picking up those animals
or those foxes that avoid
your other forms of control.
But you should be aiming at using
cost-effective techniques first
and baiting is one of those.
It's extremely effective
and provides you with 24-hour control
when you're not in the paddock with a gun.
There's still control in place.
And we need to be safe around working dogs
and manage those risks.
Not just to your working dogs,
but if you've got non-target animals
which in this case could
even be the neighbors dogs.
So following best practice,
adhering to the procedural guidelines
for the use of 1080 bait,
and also just being careful
with where you put traps
or even where you're shooting
to make sure that those
risks are mitigated
to the best of your ability.
And once again monitoring,
I like to emphasize monitoring
'cause it's not something we do a lot of.
We monitor our weaning rates
and we monitor lamb production,
but keeping an eye on what
your pest population is doing
is gonna have a significant impact on
just how many lambs you get on the ground.
And once again, I'll talk a
little bit more about that
as we progress the presentation.
So we skip on to page,
sorry, slide nine.
There's now a range of baits
and bait types available
for fox management in particular.
I'd suggest to mix things up.
I think some of the biggest mistakes
we make with baiting programs
is using the same product
over and over again.
I don't know about you,
but I don't like eating
a chicken schnitzel five days a week.
When I'm at the pub I
like to mix it up a bit
and so I'll have a
different beer off the tap.
So mix up the baits, put some
different stuff out there.
The bait manufacturers now
with manufactured baits
providing a range of products.
You can see there,
there's the De-Fox baits
which are a bit of a salami,
they're a sausage-type bait
and that's made by PAK's International.
We've got Animal Control Technologies
that are producing dry liver baits.
They also got the
traditional FOXOFF baits.
They're now doing dried meat baits
with fox-strength 1080 in it.
We've also got FOXSHIELD
which is made out of carp, of all things.
But for those areas where you've got
large numbers of carp in your tributaries
and people fishing and
chucking carcasses out
on the banks all the time, you know,
it could be a very effective bait to use
at certain times of year
when you've got foxes
that are used to eating carrion
and chewin' on carp carcasses.
So from that perspective, you
know, mix it up a little bit,
and we've also got a
new bait on the market,
well, a new toxin on
the market called PAPP,
it's para-aminopropiophenone,
I'll have a little bit of
a chat about that later.
But once again I can't highlight enough
the necessity to follow
guidelines and directions for use.
There's significant pressure on 1080,
there always has been,
so we really need to make
sure we use it properly
and according to those
directions so that we don't risk
having access to it in the long term.
So moving on to slide number 10,
I included this 'cause I
wasn't sure whether, you know,
how familiar people were with 1080
and where it comes from
and why it's so valuable
to us as a nation.
But there's a lotta pressure on 1080
and a lot of negative
social media about it
based on its use in America
and also in New Zealand where
they use it consistently for,
well, in New Zealand for
herbivore management.
At the dose rates that we require
for carnivore management
here in Australia,
there's virtually no native animals
that we can impact with the stuff.
It's a naturally-occurring compound
that occurs in native plants.
There's about 39 species of plants
all up around the country.
That map there just indicates
the distribution of
where those plants occur.
It's a naturally-occurring poison,
so obviously it's eaten and broken down
by bacteria and
microorganisms in the soil.
It leaves no residual, doesn't
persist in the environment.
It breaks down to harmless
compounds in water.
And importantly, a lot of
our native mammal species
are naturally tolerant to the poison
from years of evolving in Australia
and chewing on leaves with this stuff,
but introduced predators like foxes,
dogs and cats are extremely
susceptible to it.
So when you're using, you know,
six milligrams per kilogram is enough
which is a tiny amount.
And I think they did some figures
in a reply to a question on notice,
but across the nation we're lucky to use
four grams of 1080 per hectare.
You know, I think it's per
square kilometer actually,
but we use extremely low amounts
for predator management in the country.
And the most susceptible,
well, based on 10 trials,
the most susceptible native
species to a 1080 bait
is that spotted-tail quoll there
being held by the handsome gentleman
doing the presentation.
They're basically a marsupial,
well, almost a version
of a marsupial ferret
for any of you guys that had
ferrets as kids like I did,
except they bite a shitload harder.
So that's me trying to
keep my fingers away
from the bitey end.
But we've done numerous trials now
throughout New South Wales
with aerial baiting and
dog-strength meat baits
which is six milligrams compared to
four and a half milligrams for foxes,
and we simply can't kill one
even when we know that
they're eating the baits.
And I've got a couple of links there to
information sheets on
the PestSmart website
for you to have a look
at if you just want to go
and have a look at just how
these animals are impacted by,
sorry, how 1080 doesn't
impact on our native fauna.
And I'm happy to take
any questions later on
about that if you'd like,
but realistically, 1080 is
the most target specific
and environmentally sensitive
toxin that we have available
for pest management here in Australia,
and if we lost it,
both our agricultural and native landscape
would suffer significantly.
But we've always concerns with 1080
because it doesn't have an antidote,
and as a consequence of
that the predecessor to
the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions,
the Invasive Animal CRC,
worked with Animal Control Technologies
to get a new poison registered,
and if you move to page 11,
that new poison is
para-aminopropiophenone,
but we call it PAPP for short.
It does have an antidote,
we call it Blue-Healer,
it's actually methylene blue,
but it must be administered by a vet.
However, it is still highly effective
if you can get your domestic
dog there quick enough.
The PAPP binds on to the red
blood cells that carry oxygen,
it prevents them from carrying oxygen
and basically the animal slips into
a coma or unconsciousness,
and if 80% of its blood is
saturated with the toxin
then the animal basically
falls asleep and die.
The symptoms to death are very similar
to carbon monoxide poisoning in people
which you may or may not be familiar with.
So they're some of the advantages,
the disadvantages I guess are
the time to death is less than two hours.
It's available in manufactured baits
and ejector capsules which
I'll talk about in a minute.
But in the two graphs that I've got there
just show you in terms of,
animals will recover from PAPP
if they don't ingest enough of it
and it doesn't reach
that 80% saturation level
in their blood.
And the graph on the right just shows
the two different arcs between,
the ones dropping down from the left
down to the right-hand corner
is the oxygen levels in
the bloodstream of a dog
that's taken a bait with PAPP,
and on the left-hand
side that is the increase
in oxygen saturation of the blood cells.
So at around two hours,
your dog's basically gonna have
not enough oxygen in its
system to keep it alive
and it will pass away.
Some of the symptoms though,
unlike 1080 which show very few symptoms
until a dog's basically, you know,
past any ability to recover,
because the red blood
cells are being bound
the color of tissue around
their gums and their tongue
changes quite significantly
from that bright pink
color that we're used to,
and it sorta turns gray until it gets to
a really dark gray color when
the animal's fully sort of,
bloodstream is saturated with the PAPP.
So if you've got a working
dog you know doesn't stop
from dawn til dusk,
you've had a suspicion that
he might've picked up a bait
and he's looking to go to sleep on you
when he's usually full of beans,
you could take him to the vet
and hopefully have the poison reversed.
I will say though
because this stuff has to
be administered by a vet
we do have protocols in place
and vets can access that
from the Australian
Veterinary Association,
but you need to let your local vets know
that you're using this product
so that they can get the
antidote and have it in stock
should there be an incident.
So please just keep that in mind,
that if you do intend
on using this product
and if you do have neighboring properties
where those dogs have been a pain
and you know you think that
could be a possibility,
it's certainly worthwhile
letting your vet know
that you're using this product
and put him on to either
Animal Control Technologies
who provide baits with PAPP,
or put it straight on to
the Australian Veterinary Association
so they can get the procedural guidelines
for administering the antidote
and get some in stock.
So that's just a quick run down of I guess
a couple of the toxins that we're using,
and I just want to talk now about
the strategies that we might employ
using these baits and other tools
to manage our fox numbers
and manage our impacts.
So we move to slide number 12.
In terms of our baiting strategies,
in terms of achieving the best success,
coordinated programs are
definitely more effective,
particularly from a wild
dog management perspective
where we know dogs can
travel large distances
in very short periods of time.
It's nothing in Queensland for instance
to have dogs traveling up
to 120 Ks in a night or two,
and in Victoria, whilst
the landscape in northeast
and the east of Gippsland
is much more rugged,
we still know that they can move
20 to 30 Ks overnight pretty easily.
So working with your neighbors
in a coordinated fashion
and applying control over a range of areas
allows us to have control in place
when those dogs might move
through your property.
Similarly with foxes,
I've talked about the densities earlier,
so if you can work with your neighbors
and reduce densities on
properties over a larger area
that means you've got a
much greater opportunity
to limit those impacts
when you're trying to protect
your lambs at lambing time.
I do understand though that, you know,
having grown up in Victoria,
with the number of landholders
you've got around you,
sometimes it's difficult
to get all of your neighbors involved.
You know, people have varying opinions
on what to do and how to do it,
and I guess the benefit of my role
and the fact we've got
industry-funded coordinators
in the northeast and eastern Victoria,
those guys provide support
to community groups
and allow those collaborative approaches
to work effectively by going
around and door knocking
or talking to people,
and we hold a lot of field days over there
to convince people to be part of something
to get an outcome for the greater good,
and I'd like to see that eventuate
over in Victoria at some point in time.
But we do know that, you know,
if we can get effective
coordinator manager programs,
we've got research that
shows that, you know,
you can increase your lamb
production by up to 20%.
And once again, that's highly dependent on
seasonal conditions and fox densities,
but that has been recorded
in a couple of trials, so.
From a management perspective,
coordination is always good.
Ground baiting though,
principles are still the same,
targeting movement corridors,
those include isolated
bushland areas, drainage lines,
areas where you know that
foxes are always gonna travel
to get back to your property.
So looking for those areas in advance
and being proactive is important.
I've already mentioned the necessity
for working collaboratively,
but we also talk about
a nil tenure principles
which basically means getting
rid of the boundaries,
and an example of that
would be the map here
that I'm just showing you is an area
just north of the border in
Queensland from New South Wales.
The green areas are national
parks and state lands.
All of the white is private country.
If you want to narrow
it down even further,
we've got individual boundaries there
which are the lines
that outline properties.
And most people consider it
and think about pest
management on a business level
and think about managing the pests
within those boundaries on their property.
But the reality is that,
if you move to slide 14,
pest animals think of
the landscape like this.
They look for areas of
uncontrolled bushland.
They look for areas that
have got plenty of cover
so they can move to point A, to point B
and being concealed.
They use drainage lines,
they'll use windrows,
they'll use tree
plantations where they can.
So we call that a nil tenure
approach basically because,
get rid of the boundaries,
and in this case in fact that white line
which is the border with
New South Wales, I mean,
people weren't even talking to each other
either side of that line
to manage their wild dogs
in this situation.
And those boundaries are
basically just lines on the map,
they don't prevent the animals
from moving in any direction.
So our control programs from
a collaborative approach
need to consider the whole landscape
rather than individual properties.
So that's where
the term nil tenure approach has come from
that we use consistently in our
National Wild Dog Action Plan,
but it really is about
thinking about landscape-level control
rather than individual property levels,
or some other form of impediment
like a boundary or a state border.
So that's where we come from
in terms of our approach
and nil tenure approaches for
dog control in particular.
If we move to the next one,
unfortunately, as I said earlier,
coordinated approaches
particularly with fox management
in some of those regions is
more difficult to achieve.
So I think this is where these new tools
and new approaches really
come into their own.
Seasonal asset protection, you know,
I think in traditionally when
I grew up back in Victoria,
fox control happened the
week or two before lambing
and it was one baiting period,
and we hoped that we got all the foxes
and we'd do a little bit
of spotlighting in between
and hope to Christ that we
got 'em all that were there
and we'd have a good lambing.
I think we need to move past that
and start to think about
our asset protection
as a six to eight week
program leading up to lambing.
Given the densities of foxes
that we could have around us
and on adjoining properties,
we need to get rid of the
ones that are on your place
and then you need to put control in place
that allows us to manage those
ones that come back on board.
I use the adage that, you know,
with a single baiting
program just before lambing
we get rid of the ones that you've got
and then you suck in the 20 from next door
just before the smorgasbord
hits the ground.
So if we start looking at
a six to eight week period,
we do a good baiting early on,
get rid of 'em six weeks in advance
and we look at the seasonal
or replacement baiting programs,
which is effectively just
putting baits in known
or good strategic locations
where foxes are likely
to re-enter your property
and picking them up with the baits
as they come onto the place
and well before there
are lambs on the ground
that distract them from taking the bait
that you've got there.
Points or locations to
look at are, you know,
obviously isolated water points,
small dams and things
that are tucked into bush
or on the periphery of pasture,
any vehicle tracks which
provide easy travel ways,
uncleared bushland,
any of those locations where
you might have a pathway
in terms of uncleared land or a creek line
or something that moves from
either uncleared public land
or adjoining neighboring properties.
They're all good places to
look for putting these baits.
In terms of monitoring their uptake,
you know, use baits like traps.
I suggested there tie 'em
to the ground or bury them.
CPEs are also good for this,
that they can't just get shifted,
they need to be physically eaten or chewed
to get off that wire.
And then replace those baits once a week
right up until you're lambing,
and even til after
you've finished lambing.
I make the comment there again,
more is not necessarily better.
Well-positioned targeted baits
will get you more outcomes
than throwing baits out
randomly around the place
hoping that something might pick it up.
The image there, for those
that haven't seen it,
but foxes are quite petite
in the way that they take
a bait out of the ground.
They dig paw over paw
and basically just pluck
baits outta the ground.
When you're doing a baiting program
where you've got foxes and dogs,
that's a classic sign of
how a fox takes a bait out of the ground.
Dogs gets down there on all fours
and just dig the crap out of the hole
and you've got something that's
been completely excavated.
So you can still tell
even when you don't have
enough tracks around
to tell what's actually taken
the bait out of the ground.
But I also highlight there
that these Canid Pest Ejectors
which we'll talk about in a minute
are ideal tools for this
sort of an application
in terms of replacement baiting.
If we move to the next slide 16,
once again, buried baiting techniques.
You need to know where
they are to replace them
so marking the sites is really important.
You can either use a GPS,
that bucket of old ear tags
that you've got in the shed,
bit of metho to clean
them up and a nikko pen,
and just number them
and nail 'em to a tree
or a star picket or a fence or whatever,
so you know where those
baits are always going to be
and you can come back to check them.
You also know where they are
so you can avoid those
locations with your dogs.
Tethering baits as I said
is an ideal way to manage
foxes taking more than one bait.
Monitoring the bait take
using either sand pads
or lookin' at the way it's been removed
so that you know just what's
been taking those baits.
Once again I highlight
putting baits in spots
where foxes should find them,
targeting those corridors
and bushland areas.
And once again, if you
can find those baits,
going back and picking 'em up
or covering them with a
plow disc or something
so your dogs can't get them before you go
and muster paddocks is important
to make sure those dogs, your
working dogs aren't at risk.
And look, I'm a big advocate
for training your dogs
to use muzzles in paddocks
where you think there's a risk
where the bait might be lying around,
and been working on developing a video
looking at using muzzles on working dogs
with some of the prominent
Kelpie breeders down in Victoria
that'll be out fairly soon.
So they're some of the basic
principles about baiting,
but I wanna talk more about
these Canid Pest Ejectors
'cause I'm not sure that people
are very familiar with them
in areas of Victoria where
we haven't got wild dogs.
We've been trying to get these registered
for wild dog management
purposes for a number of years.
We now have them registered,
but I don't think they're being used
as effectively as they
could in areas with foxes.
So developed in America
for coyote control.
They've got a number of advantages
and I'll just go through
these pretty quickly
'cause I've got a slide next door that'll,
should give a better idea.
But they basically have to
be hammered into the ground,
so they can't be shifted.
So those concerns about
foxes moving the bait
to somewhere where you don't
know where it is is removed.
These animals, they just
can't physically move them
once they're in the ground.
There's a capsule inside, the bait head,
which contains 1080 or PAPP.
It's sealed up so it's not
affected by rain or water,
so if you do get a big downpour of rain
on an ejector capsule
it's not gonna bother it,
whereas if you've got a 1080 bait
in the ground with rain on it,
it's gonna basically leak it
out and render it useless.
The other benefit of these things is
you can use a range of
different types of bait heads
so you can put different types
of meat or lures on the head,
which once again, mixing
it up, changing it up
and getting them interested
in different things.
They're easy to install and remove,
they can be disarmed and
removed when you muster stock
and they can be put back in place.
You don't need to check
them as regularly as bait,
so I think the regulations
in Victoria says
up to four weeks but I'd checking
'em once a week regardless
just to see what's been taking 'em,
what sorta densities of
foxes is still around.
They're very target specific
due to the trigger mechanism.
They have to be pulled on vertically
and it takes about two
kilos of vertical force
which not too many animals do.
A lot of animals tend to
pull things from the side.
Foxes and dogs are the two main animals
that can pull vertically
and about the only ones
that can set it off.
They're easy to identify
if the animal's taken, been triggered,
because you can see that
the capsule's been released
and the contents has been ejected out,
so you've got a pretty good idea
that something's tugged on it,
and you know if it's been set off
that you're pretty much been,
had the poison basically ejected
straight into their mouth.
And they don't take up a
lotta room on your ute.
They're quite small, the
capsules are quite small,
so they only need a small
red lockable toolbox
on the back of your ute to
cart around a few bait heads,
and a hammer, pair of pliers,
and a few capsules.
The disadvantages are that,
well sorry, we'll go back a bit.
Trials have shown that they're
extremely effective on foxes
so we have no issues
with foxes taking them.
The only disadvantage is they
will cost a little bit more
for you to get started
and they cost about 70
to 80 bucks for a unit.
But they're a bit like traps,
once you've got one, as
long as you maintain it,
you'll have it forever and a day.
So, what the hell are they?
If we move on to slide 18,
so on the right-hand side
in that gentleman's hand
is the ejector device once
it's been fully put together.
Above it is an image of
when it's been nailed into the ground
and that's what you see exposed
at the surface of the ground.
Now, if we start from left to right,
we have those pliers which
are the setting pliers.
The next to the right is the ejector unit,
that is actually the cocked mechanism
that is released and flies up through
those little pink capsules down the bottom
and squirts the poison
up into their mouth.
The ground stake is what you
actually hit into the ground
and holds it into place.
And then the image to
the right there shows
the ground stake that's
been nailed in the ground,
the way that the ejector unit
sits within the ground spike,
and then you screw the bait head on
which is that lure head
up on the left-hand corner
before you put a bit of meat on it,
and you screw that on
and that's what attracts the animal to it.
The trigger, if you
look at the ejector unit
with the trigger,
that little wire trigger sits
in the re-baited section on that piston
and holds that piston down.
And you can see on the ground
spike there's a trigger slot.
You slide that unit into that slot,
you move that locking ring
around it to hold it in place,
and then as the bait head is pulled up
it catches on that trigger unit,
the trigger unit is pulled down,
that releases the piston
and the piston moves up
through the capsule and ejects
the contents into its mouth.
And if you go to slide 19
this is a fairly good
representation of what happens.
So as you can see there
on the left, ground spike,
everything's been nailed into position,
there's a bait on the bait
holder, capsule's in place,
that's the orange is the
contents of the capsule.
This fox, which in this
case must be a miniature fox
as he's got a tiny head
compared to that bait head,
he puts his mouth or jaws around
and over the top of that hole,
he tugs on the bait vertically
and you can see the arrow.
Once he does that the trigger
unit releases the piston,
as you can see the
spring fires the piston,
the piston goes up through that capsule
and ejects the contents of the
capsule which is the poison
into the animal's mouth.
It's that simple, and I've
got a video link there,
a very good video that we developed
that shows quite clearly
how to use these devices,
what they are, what they consist of,
and how to maintain them
in good working order
for fox and dog control programs.
So we move to slide 20.
Yeah, this is just a bit
of I guess representation
of some of the things we've
been doing with landholders.
We're big on running field
days around the country
and giving people, you know,
examples and giving them a
hands-on try at these devices
so they can see how to use them,
to give them the confidence
to use something new.
This is a number of photos here that show
how they're knocked into the ground,
using the pliers there in the
first photo on the top level.
You can use a piece of reo
bar or a half inch bolt
to slide down the inside
of the ground stake
and then you nail that into the soil,
and you need to do that because
you can't afford to damage
the top of the ground spike
where the locking ring is.
If that locking ring isn't
mobile and can't be moved around
then you can't lock the device
in place and set the trigger.
So we always use,
and I'm sorry for the
photos being quite small,
we always use a bit of reo bar
just to knock that into the ground.
You can see the next slide
we've sort of got the
ground spike in there,
and you move along and
you can see this gentleman
sliding the ejector unit
into the ground spike.
People often say to me, you know,
what happens if it goes off
when you're screwing the bait head on?
All I say to 'em, treat it like a firearm.
Treat the hole at the end of that
just like the end of the
barrel on the rifle or a gun,
and keep it pointed away from you.
As long as it's pointed away from you,
if the piston goes off
then the contents gets
sprayed away from you.
Not that I've pulled the trigger on a gun
when I don't want to very often,
but if it ever happened you'd want to hope
that you're pointing it
in the right direction.
So just keep that in mind.
The bottom photos there
are examples of different
types of bait heads.
You see there, old mate's got
a bottle of Aquadhere glue
and he's putting glue
around a bit of soaker hose
on the top of that bait head,
and then rolling it around
in crushed liver treats.
You know the dehydrated liver
treats you get for your dogs?
Rolling that around in the liver treats
and then that results in a nice, I guess,
liver-crumbed bait head
which foxes find irresistible.
Foxes have got exceptionally good noses
and because of their scavenging behaviors
are really good at finding things,
so anything you can use that encourages
them to come to those
bait heads is important.
And similarly, I didn't
really mention it earlier,
but putting additives on your baits
like blood and bone and things like that
can also increase your bait uptake,
particularly if you're burying baits.
Guys that I know often
use liquid blood and bone
in the old MasterFoods sauce bottle
and just put a dollop of
blood and bone on the bait
before they flick the soil back over.
And you don't need a lot,
but it's often enough
just to encourage extra
uptake from your baits.
And now on the right-hand side here is,
the last photo on the right,
is the bait head which is a dry meat bait
that you can buy commercially
from Animal Control Technologies.
You can see there it's got the cap,
that one hasn't been set off yet,
it's got the white cap
there at the top of the hole
on the bait head and it's
just sitting above the dirt,
just waiting for something to come along,
put its head over the top
and pull on the top of that.
If we move to page 21,
a fair bit of writing on
this and I do apologize,
but the link down the bottom,
there's a wild dog and fox baiting guide
that I can send people if
they're interested in one via Jo,
and if you're contacting me through the,
at the end of the presentation
I'm happy to send a few of these.
These maps just sort of try and indicate
areas that are worthwhile trying
in terms of fox management,
locations where you consider putting baits
at the five to 10 per 100 hectares.
This is in a cropping situation, you know,
you got fallow crops there
with a bit of grass in between
and some uncleared low scrub.
You know, once again isolated
dams in those blue areas
away from habitation,
away from the homestead,
where they can get a
drink without being seen.
With tracks that travel
between cropping areas
on those little drainage
lines and gutters.
You know, it allows them to
move through those paddocks
without being seen pretty easily.
Junctions of tracks are
also very good locations.
Foxes and dogs will mark areas with urine
or they'll take a dump in those places
so that animals know that they're around.
And something we work on from
a dog trapping perspective,
if you think about the
wind direction at night,
most areas have sort of a
prominent wind direction
at the night, during the nighttime.
Try and put your baits on the
upward side of your tracks
from where that wind is gonna be.
So if an animal moves down a pathway,
now it's gonna have the scent
of that bait blown towards it
rather than being on the
downward side of the wind
and the smell gets blown
out into the paddock
instead of in front of its nose.
That's something to consider
if you're using baits
on tracks in particular.
When you're moving into, I
guess, more timbered country,
and this area here is up the Murray River.
Unfortunately it's probably burnt now,
but it's up near Burrowye, Walwa,
this is an area that's got
wild dogs and foxes in it.
They both use the same locations,
and don't get sucked into the rubbish
that foxes or dogs exclude foxes and cats
out of bushlands and native environments
because we've got plenty
of video footage of
dogs walking up and cockin'
their leg on a tussock
only to have a fox come back an hour,
half an hour later to do the same,
and then a big old tomcat come back
and do it an hour after he's left.
So they avoid each
other in space and time,
but certainly don't exclude
each other from these habitats.
So in this case here
the red stars are areas that
are ideal for placing baits.
Once again they're in property
tracks that, you know,
right on the periphery of open country
on the edge of the bushland.
The second star on the left
there, right down the bottom,
there's actually a little
dam tucked in there,
so it's once again another ideal spot
where animals can come outta that bush
and water without being seen,
and then be quite unaware
of their presence.
Anywhere along the periphery
of that timbered country
there on the left-hand side.
And then I've got some of
those fire trails and tracks
that go up on the ridge
line to those areas
where foxes and dogs are likely to use.
From a management perspective
in terms of corridors,
these animals are gonna use
the easiest pathways they can
to get from point A to point B,
and that's why in these timbered
country and bushland areas
we always target tracks
and fire trails first,
particularly on ridges.
Open, bony ridges are generally
where you find a fire track
and you'll see that the
animals and all your wildlife
are using those same locations.
So once again, no need to
put out heaps of baits,
but target those areas to
the best of your ability.
Down the bottom there, those
purple triangles there,
once again they're the sorts of locations
where isolated patches of
timber on cleared property
where foxes might find a den site
underneath that fallen tree or something.
They've got easy access to
water, lambs potentially,
rabbits and hares in that open country,
so they're gonna inhabit
those areas quite well, so.
And then I've just got some yellow lines
where you might consider
putting control in place
if you've got animals coming
up off the river there
and moving into your properties
after you do your baiting programs.
So just thinking in terms
of those landscapes,
and I'm sure, I'm hoping
that most of you guys
are thinking seriously
at the moment about,
oh, you know, there's
a creek line that goes
from Joe Blow's place next
door that's coming to my place,
or like my mate down
around Ballan there's got
the Moorabool River that
runs through his joint
and that's the super highway for foxes.
So he's got 40 ejectors
that he keeps on the river at all times,
so if anything strolls along
the river into his place,
it's gotta get past 20 ejectors
before it gets out the other side.
They're the sorts of things
that you need to start
thinking about in terms
of this six to eight week
replacement period baiting program.
And that's I think probably going to be
the best way to reduce
the numbers of those foxes
across the landscape.
If we go to the next slide, number 23,
I've just got some other
key times to bait here
and this is something to consider
that's not necessarily related
to your management practices
or your production systems,
but it's when foxes are
particularly vulnerable to control
and particularly baits.
Late spring, early summer
is when young foxes
are moving outta home, they're
getting kicked outta home,
so odds are they're
probably pretty hungry.
They haven't got mum there to hunt for 'em
so they're gonna be relatively naive.
It's the sorta time of year
that you shoot foxes in
really strange places
like walkin' up the driveway
towards the homestead.
Now, they're good times
to try and put baits out,
even if you're not a spring lamber,
keeping the densities of foxes down
on your place all year round
means you've got less to worry about
when you're lambing in springtime.
So keep that in mind that
that spring, early summer period
with those young dumb foxes
is a good time to take a few out.
The other thing that sort of
evolved in the last probably,
you know, 20 years,
calicivirus and myxo's had a
re-emergence in some places.
But when those rabbit
populations reach large densities
and get to critical mass and
calicivirus runs through them
and wipes them out in a few days,
the foxes in that location
have basically lost a
food source overnight
and within a week they're gonna have
not too many carcasses left to feed on
and are gonna be pretty desperate
for somethin' to chew on.
So you know, if you've
got rabbits on your place
and you notice that
they're droppin' like flies
through calicivirus, you know,
it's a really good opportunity
to reload your bait stations
and try and pick up some foxes
when they're susceptible
to picking up a bait
'cause there's not much
food about for them.
The other thing that we do quite often,
particularly with dogs,
foxes and dogs really enjoy
broken earth, so if you're
doing any fire trails
or creating any property tracks,
it's a really good opportunity
to chuck some baits out
in the road reels on the side of those
'cause they'll be moving
up and down looking for any
skinks or lizards or grubs
or anything you've turned
up with the fresh soil,
so that's another opportunity.
I see we're getting close to time, guys,
so I'll keep moving along,
but monitoring is important.
Monitoring tracks, sandy locations,
road tracks, you know.
Keeping an eye on what's
about is important
in terms of that control periods.
We now have remote cameras
and there's a lot of advice
and guides on that YouTube site
as well as on the CRC PestSmart site
on how to set up those cameras
to give you an idea of what's around,
but also to look at what's taking baits.
And that photo down on the
left there on a bait station,
and the two foxes in the
screen there at the bottom
are taking baits out of
a dog baiting location in Victoria.
So here you can use those tools.
We've also developed a mobile app
that allows us to record activity,
and the FeralScan website
has a fox scan unit
and this is what you see from the public.
These are all sightings of foxes.
But what you can do is download the app
which then allows you to record
information like your baiting program,
every time you place a bait.
If you enter that control button,
gives you a GPS location, it
tells you what you're doing
and then you submit it,
and what it does is
allows you to actually map
where you put baits out on your property.
And this is actually one
of my wild dog coordinators
from northern Victoria,
and he's actually put
baits out on his property
and realized that he actually
doesn't have a lot of baits
where his lambing paddocks are.
So just gives you the
opportunity to have a look
at where you're actually
putting your baits
in terms of their effectiveness.
Look, these are just some summary
slides here about baiting
programs and 1080.
Coordinator programs are ideal
if you can get your
neighbors working with you,
but seasonal asset protection
and replacement baiting programs
I think are still effective.
So anyway, I will probably leave it there,
leave it with the last summary slide
and take any questions
that you might have.
– [Jo] Thanks, Greg,
that's fantastic.
– Thank you, Jo.
– [Jo] Thank you.
We'll now open up the
webinar for questions,
so I'll ask our assistant
Luke to explain the process
for placing your questions into the queue.
Over to you, Luke.
You there, Luke?
While we're waiting for Luke,
we might actually just move to perhaps
some of the questions that have come in
via the webinar.
Those hooked in through
the webinar not the phones.
So Greg if you can hear me,
one of the questions asked by Jenny,
she was wondering if the CPEs
are actually available
in Western Australia.
– [Greg] Yes, they are.
You'll have to look at
what the requirements are
over there to access them,
there's probably some training involved,
but they're readily
available to my knowledge
through your rural outlets.
You just need to go and ask them,
they may need to get them in,
but Animal Control
Technologies is the company
that distributes them
and they've got a number
of retail outlets in WA,
I know that for a fact.
– [Jo] Okay, and next
question from Kaylee is
if a predator picks up a PAPP bait
but doesn't reach 80%
saturation and recovers,
does this animal then build up resistance?
– [Greg] No, it doesn't.
Because the toxin,
the way it works in terms
of binding red blood cells,
there's no mechanism
for resistance to occur.
As you can imagine,
anything that affects our red blood cells,
we're gonna have some sort of a mechanism
or metabolism to try and manage that
and there are a number of
enzymes that reverse the poison
if they don't receive a full dose.
So that's why important
that they get a full dose
to cause mortality,
but there's no actual mechanism
to build resistance to it.
So no, that won't happen
with this type of product.
– [Jo] Okay, and perhaps
just a couple of questions
that I had myself, Greg.
I was pretty interested to hear
in regards to the effective control,
so you mentioned five to
10 baits per 100 hectares.
Has that always been the recommendation
or is that something that's
been adjusted over time
after seeing how effective
the control has been?
– [Greg] Yeah, the
regional densities I think
were probably a little bit underdone.
But yeah, we've done
research in the, you know,
I suppose the last 10 to 15 years
to come up with those
densities per hectare.
So five to 10, I think
we've had more knowledge now
with new technology and radio tracking,
all those sorts of research
tools that have allowed us
to get a better
understanding of densities,
and then we've also had
cameras on bait sites
and things like that to look at uptake.
So yeah, five to 10 is, I guess,
a recommendation that we've
come up with more recently,
particularly for fox management.
– [Jo] Okay, and look, we
do have a question from Don
in regards to whether the webinar will be,
a recording of the
webinar will be available.
Unfortunately he was a
little bit late joining us,
but yes it will be available, Don,
in regards to the recorded webinar
and a transcript associated with it.
One last question, Greg,
I had two, was bait depth.
Not the PAPP devices but normal baits.
What depth should they be buried?
– [Greg] Look, I think in Victoria
it's down to five to 10 centimeters.
I think they would be under
the directions of use.
And look I've seen, you know,
foxes are quite adept at
identifying where baits are
at that depth without
any problem whatsoever.
So look, you'd have to double check that.
Unfortunately you work across the country,
it varies in every state,
so just refer to the directions for use,
that it's on that link I put in that slide
and that'll give you the correct depth.
– [Jo] Fantastic.
We might just try again
and see whether or not Luke's available
to explain the process for
those that have phoned in
for placing their
questions into the queue.
Luke, how are we going?
– [Luke] Sure, thanks Greg and thanks Jo.
For those of you who are on the phone,
if you'd like to ask a
question you can do so now
by pressing star one on
your telephone keypad.
We'll pause a moment to
assemble a question queue.
For those of you on the
phone just a reminder,
it's star one on your telephone keypad.
We don't appear to be having any questions
coming through over the phone,
so back through to you, Jo.
– [Jo] Thanks very much, Luke.
That concludes our webinar this evening.
Thanks again to our presenter, Greg.
For those of you on the webinar platform
you'll be migrated
directly to a short survey.
Please take the time to fill this out
as it allows us to provide
you with timely information.
Alternatively, if you
are joining us by phone,
an email will be sent to you shortly
and there will be a link to a
survey associated with this.
And as I mentioned before,
a transcript of the
presentation will be available
on the registration
portal in the coming days.
Alternatively, a link will be provided
to the registered emails
which will direct you
to the recorded webinar
and to the transcript.
So thank you, Greg.
Appreciate your fantastic
presentation tonight.
– No worries, Jo.
– I'd like to
thank everyone for their participation
and wish you a good evening, thank you.
– [Luke] Thank you.

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