Wild dog activity: Prevalence of bitten young cattle in the Northern Territory.

We are calling for Northern Territory stations interested in monitoring the impacts of wild dogs. The overall aim of the study is to establish a practical system that captures frequency data on wild-dog damage on calves and weaners within breeding herds of the Northern Territory.

Data will be analysed to derive overall regional and property estimates for the frequency mauled young cattle appear at muster. The variation in prevalence of young cattle with signs of non-fatal attacks will be described, and associations between risk factors (cow age class, baiting attributes, location, proximity to a national park, etc.) investigated. Equally of interest is assessing the predictability of reproductive failure rates using indicators of wild dog activity, and gauging the effectiveness of practices to regulate the control of wild dogs.

Using email forms, paper-based forms, and electronic survey methods, collaborating stations will be asked to report, on a paddock or management group basis, the number of calves and weaners processed observed with wild-dog bite damage and the total number mustered. A draft version of the web-based form is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/dogbite. Alternative options will also be available to contribute bulk information or historical records.

For participating properties that also monitor, and are willing to contribute, information to calculate reproductive failure rates (losses from pregnancy diagnosis to branding/weaning), project staff will be available to assist in collating this information to compare with prevalence of mauled cattle.

The project team ensures that the identity of individual properties will be anonymous in any oral, written, or electronic reporting of the findings from the project. Each enrolled property will be identified in code within a database, with the key held by only the project manager. All project findings for individual properties will be reported directly only to the property owner or manager. External reporting of findings for specific properties will occur only after receiving written permission from the property owner or manager. The copyright for all data collected will be held by the project exclusively.

If interested in participating in the study, or would like to know more information, please do not hesitate to contact Kieren McCosker, Beef Production Scientist, Katherine; phone: 08 8973 9771 or email: kieren.mccosker@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 20 December 2016

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