The National Parks and Wildlife Service arranged for a trapper to work at Beryl Ryan’s Talbingo property last weekend and have agreed to put in more bait lines, but she says their efforts don’t go anywhere near far enough.
Ms Ryan and her husband have lost 17 lambs in the past five weeks on Boraig Station, leaving them with none, and they’re worried the dogs will now start going after the fully grown sheep.
“We’ve got a trapper here now trapping and they’re going to put more bait lines in, apparently,” she said.
“I had a phone call from National Parks [after she spoke to the media], saying don’t worry, we’re here, we’re here to help, and I said it’s a bit late now, I’ve got no lambs left – and I hadn’t heard from this particular person for over six months.
“They can’t do what we need them to do without a full-time trapper. There isn’t one, because they say it’s a waste of time and money. That’s a quote from National Parks – it’s too costly to have a full time trapper. Well, it’s too costly for us losing our lambs every year, but they don’t care about that.”
Ms Ryan said she contacted National Parks in March for help and they said their contracted trappers were all unavailable – but when she spoke to one of the trappers he said he’d never heard from them.
After speaking to others in the industry, including professional trappers, she fears that thanks to inaction on behalf of the relevant authorities, the wild dog situation all across Australia may already be too big to be dealt with satisfactorily.
“We’ve been around and around and around in circles,” she said.
“When we jump up and down and say we’re not happy and it gets to the media they run around like blue-arsed flies to make it look like they’re actually doing something, and then in six weeks time it’s out the window.
“It reminds me of what happened years ago with these European wasps. They had it on the news, saying if you see one ring up and report it. I did once, and State Forest said there’s too many now, we can’t do anything about it, it’s out of control. It’s the same with the dogs.”
An NPWS spokesperson said that their current approach was the most effective way of managing the wild dogs issue.
“Office of Environment and Heritage and other public and private land managers are in regular contact with wild dog affected landholders at a personal level and through periodic wild dog working group meetings to formulate cooperative long and short term plans for wild dog control,” they said.
“Communication with property managers in Talbingo and Goobragandra has occurred on a frequent basis to agree on control methods. NPWS is increasing the area and frequency of trapping and ground baiting programs to control dogs deeper into Kosciuszko National Park and introducing permanent canid pest ejectors stations around affected private properties.
“Contract trappers are engaged to undertake reactive and proactive trapping programs across number of wild dog plan areas in the Riverina Highlands as agreed in cooperative wild dog management plans. These plans also include funding commitments for trapping and other control methods.
“Trappers are engaged to respond to wild dog attacks within an agreed timeframe and this will continue into the future.”