Why researchers plan to bond and release feral dogs in Western Australia

A wild dog researcher in Western Australia plans to use GPS tracking technology to study wild dog attacks and interactions with livestock in real time.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development researcher Tracey Kreplins will tag 120 cattle and bond up to 15 feral dogs at five pastoral stations in the Gascoyne, Murchison and Nullarbor regions.

While halfway through tagging cattle with herders, Dr Kreplins said she expected it to be more difficult to trap, stick collars and then release a feral dog.

Stuart Dawson and Tracey Kreplins plan to trap and stick feral dogs to track them through the Gascoyne, Murchison and Nullarbor regions. (Provided: Dr Kreplins)

She said the cattle and dog data would allow her to monitor dog-cattle interactions in real time, but it would also help producers quantify the cost of feral dogs to their beef businesses.

Quantify the cost of dogs

According to Invasive Species Solutions Center.

“For the record, we know there is a lot of loss to feral dogs due to bite marks, bad mothers and calf predation, but we actually don’t have any solid science in WA on it. ‘magnitude of the impact of feral dogs on livestock and what it means economically,’ she said.

A hand holds a small digital screen that will tag cattle to track their behavior around wild dogs in WA.
A Ceres Cattle Tag used in the Wild Dog and Cattle Project.(Provided: Tracey Kreplins)

Dr Kreplins said data from collared dogs and tagged cattle would allow him to observe how long feral dogs and cattle spend in close proximity to each other, if cattle graze the best feed in them. supply areas or if it grazes elsewhere to avoid dogs. , and whether the cattle drank regularly with feral dogs in the same area.

“All of these trackers contain accelerometers, which allow us to calculate their time spent sleeping, running, walking and how often their activities coexist.

“Hopefully we can do a bit of CSI and figure out how often dogs predict cattle or calves, log in and see what’s going on and quantify the real impacts dogs have on cattle.

The “cow-dog” project will take place over several years.

Elizabeth J. Harless