Letter: Wild dog baiting program in Kalang

Philip Robertson Smith from Kalang

Philip Robertson Smith from Kalang

I wish to inform residents of the Kalang Valley that a three-month winter program to eradicate wild dogs and foxes ended in late September. Five landholders took part.

I visited 25 properties in mid June to inform them of our baiting program and found about 15 of the owners at home. I was very pleased to be told that many of them noticed a big change in the howling of wild dogs from the beginning of our 2017 winter baiting and three months later.

I believe I may have killed at least 40 wild dogs/foxes during the winter of 2017. In June this year, a landholder told me he believed his own blue heeler dog may have been among them. I thought ‘Now I’m in trouble’ but he quickly said ‘Don’t worry mate, I knew it was sometimes running with the wild dog pack often seen near Moody’s Bridge’.

In early June this year I often saw foxes while driving home after dark; however, after the first month of laying 1080 baits provided by the Dept of Agriculture, I have seen none since.

What we really need, however, is for more landholders in the Kalang Valley to join us in our winter baiting program next year. They have to do a free four-hour course with the Ag Dept to obtain a licence to bait.

In the last three years I lost seven cows and calves, and most of my red necked wallaby, swamp wallaby, pademelons and bandicoots disappeared from my land. I am very happy to report I am now starting to see them again on my land.

There was a freak group of red necked wallaby which I often saw between Moody’s and Duffy’s Bridge. These wallabies were the colour of a red kangaroo with a white bib. Once I saw seven of them together, at other times I saw some of them in the company of normal red necked wallabies. One of our baiting group has photos of the red coloured wallabies. Unfortunately I think they were all wiped out by the wild dogs.

Those Kalang residents who care about the survival of our native wildlife and domestic stock, please join us, as the five landholders are all within a small section of the lower Kalang Valley and I have heard many reports of fox and wild dog activity further up our valley where no landholders are currently registered to bait.

To enquire about the times and locations of baiting courses, contact Mick Elliott of the Grafton Ag Dept on 0408 352 174.

Any people wanting to discuss issues with regard to baiting are welcome to call me on 6655 1719.

Philip Robertson Smith