A groundbreaking new Wild Dog Alert system is being developed to help protect livestock by sending real-time messages about wild dog presence directly to producers and land managers.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) invasive species officer, Paul Meek, said the alert system was the product of the combined efforts of industry, farmers, scientists and government.
"Led by Dr Greg Falzon, researchers from NSW DPI and the University of New England have partnered with Australian Wool Innovation, Meat & Livestock Australia and the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, to deliver this new tool," Dr Meek said.
"Wild Dog Alert is a one-stop, solar powered shop, which detects wild dogs in a 360 degree zone using a tri-sensor system.
"An in-built camera, recognition software and satellite communication are combined to automate wild dog detection and send an alert.
"Landholders can take instant action and work with neighboring properties and wild dog management groups to immediately address issues, not days after wild dogs cause carnage.
"The aim is to provide another tool for producers in managing wild dogs which helps redress the emotional and financial toll caused by wild dog predation.
"Too often farmers spend sleepless nights not knowing if wild dogs have entered properties, putting livestock at risk – it’s all too late to act when they wake to paddocks of dead animals.
Documented evidence shows the repercussions from wild dogs killing and injuring stock can go on for weeks or months to take a heavy toll on business, families and communities.
This early warning technology offers producers the ability to detect dogs before they attack, at any time of the day and in remote locations.
Dr Meek said Wild Dog Alert aims to help land managers boost the effectiveness of baiting campaigns and other wild dog control options.
"We are currently testing the components to ensure our device is robust and fit-for-purpose," he said.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure this cutting edge technology is able to deliver on-farm for livestock producers."
Researchers propose to have a working prototype Wild Dog Alert system by June 2019.
This story was first published in The Fence magazine.