Wild dog management
Since 2009, the SA Arid Lands (SAAL) Landscape Board, has coordinated the Biteback program to assist regional land managers with best practice control for wild dogs. The program aims to develop land manager capacity through coordinated landscape-scale wild dog control, and reduce impacts from wild dogs to pastoral productivity.
Land managers with similar geography and land systems are encouraged to work together in cooperative groups that share knowledge and skills by coordinating integrated best-practice control methods that include ground baiting, trapping and shooting to reduce wild dog impacts.
Biteback provides land managers with a bi-annual 1080 wild dog bait-injection services, access to manufactured baits throughout the year, encourages the monitoring of wild dog activity, training opportunities for a range of integrated wild dog control methods and advice on future management, upcoming technologies and interstate developments.
The program is funded by the SA Sheep Industry Fund and the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board Landscape Levy.
Find out more about Biteback.
SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Management Plan
The SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Management Plan is an important document for the board, providing a guide to land managers and government staff who administer wild dog management in the region. It contributes to improved sheep production and biodiversity outcomes inside the Dog Fence where wild dogs are a declared pest species, and also aims to reduce seasonal impacts to cattle production north of the Dog Fence, where the wild dog is classed as a non-protected native species. The current plan is under review and will be updated soon.
Land managers in the SAAL region have been sharing wild dog activity and control measures on their property with the board since 2009. Initially, data was only collected from properties inside the dog fence annually, but has now been expanded to include all properties in the region (inside and outside the dog fence) bi-annually.
The collected data is used to report long-term trends in total control effort, fluctuations in wild dog populations and stock impacts over time and in the development of aerial baiting flight paths to ensure areas of high wild dog activity are targeted.
In the past, paper maps of individual properties were posted bi-annually, but the development of the Wild Dog Scan (WDS) app means the program is transitioning to this online platform. The WDS application was developed in Queensland as a way to record wild dog activity and control measures across Australia. The app can be used on any smart device without an internet connection. The information collected on the app is accessed along with hard copy maps and included for reporting purposes.
The app also gives land managers the ability to share wild dog activity information with each other, and can enable land managers to target specific dogs in real time before they experience stock impacts. The app is open to the general public to record their own sightings.
A recent addition to the Biteback program is a series of webinars designed to allow the sharing of important information, research findings from around Australia, emerging technologies and reporting tools to a large audience without the need for travel costs or extended time away from properties.
Access previous recorded webinars here.
The board's Biosecurity team also coordinates aerial baiting for properties inside the dog fence when funding is available. This program is designed to complement landholder ground baiting effort, with flight paths developed to target inaccessible areas of land where wild dogs are most likely breeding and harboring, and along vectors that allow wild dogs to travel great distances such as along the edges of salt lakes. Data collected through the monitoring component is also used to ensure aerial baiting is targeting areas of the region with the most reported wild dog impacts.
Previous Aerial baiting reports are available on request.
In more recent years, Biosecurity SA (a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA) has also been conducting aerial baiting within the region which complements the efforts of the Biteback program.
Best Practice Guidelines for Wild Dog Control
In October 2017, the SAAL Landscape Board released the Best Practice Guidelines for Wild Dog Control, which were endorsed by Livestock SA.
The guidelines were developed following discussion and feedback from land managers over a number of years and are a reference tool for the best methods to control wild dogs based on an integrated management approach coordinating baiting, trapping and shooting along with monitoring.
They set a benchmark for land managers and the board to assess community efforts to control wild dogs. More recently, the document was used to guide the development of the Declared Animal Policy: Wild Dogs and Dingoes, which provides detail to the legislated control measures required within the SAAL region.
Wild Dog Legislation and Policy in South Australia
The Landscape South Australia Act 2019 and the Landscape South Australia (General) Regulations 2020 guide the wild dog control requirements in South Australia which varies depending where a property is located and on what side of the Dog Fence it’s located.
The Declared Animal Policy: Wild Dogs and Dingoes (the policy) gives further interpretation of the legislation by providing specific control requirements depending on the location of a property in South Australia.
Inside (south of) the Dog Fence and within the Buffer Zone
Inside the SAAL region, the policy delineates zones inside (south of) the Dog Fence and within the Buffer Zone, just north of the Dog Fence where baiting is mandatory, twice a year (Region 1 and Region 5) and zones where baiting is only required when wild dog activity is detected (Region 2 and Region 4).
Due to the presence of 1080 baits in the SA Arid Lands region, it is strongly recommended that any working dogs and pet dogs entering the region are muzzled when out and about to reduce the risk of consuming a poison bait.
Outside (north of) the Buffer Zone
Outside the Dog Fence and above the Buffer Zone in South Australia, wild dogs are classed as a non-protected native species, meaning they are neither specifically protected nor declared as a pest in the Act, but are acknowledged for their cultural significance and the ecological role they play in the environment.
Land managers in this zone should limit wild dog control activities to areas where wild dog impacts on livestock and public safety are likely. To support the ecological role of the wild dog, the level of control is restricted by limiting the amount of baits available for each property on an annual basis.
In situations where annual control measures are not sufficient to reduce impacts to livestock, land managers will be required to provide evidence of this through submitting a Bait Request for Exceptional Circumstances form.
The South Australian Wild Dog Management Strategy
Released in 2023, the South Australian Wild Dog Management Strategy was developed by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), in collaboration with the State Government, peak livestock and conservation stakeholder groups, the state and local dog fence boards and community members and groups.
The plan identifies the following three goals to manage wild dog populations and their associated impacts in SA:
- Goal 1 – Eradicate wild dogs inside the dog fence.
- Goal 2 - Prevent incursions of wild dogs through the dog fence.
- Goal 3 - Protect the cattle industry and the public while maintaining the important cultural and ecological benefits of dingoes outside the Dog Fence.
The State Government and livestock industry-funded wild dog trapper program began in 2018. The $300,000 per year program is funded through a partnership between PIRSA, industry (Sheep Industry Fund and Australian Wool Innovation) and the four wild dog impacted Landscape Boards (SAAL, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke and SA Murraylands and Riverlands).
Find out more about the Trapper Program
Other State Government supported wild dog management programs
SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Management Program