Snap, camera traps capture pests

Wild dog behaviour caught on infrared cameras

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Pests cause approximately $40 million in damages and lost primary production in NSW each year. Photos: NSW DPI

Pests cause approximately $40 million in damages and lost primary production in NSW each year. Photos: NSW DPI

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The NSW government has installed 60 infrared camera traps covering 120km to help track the movements and behaviours of wild dogs and feral pigs.

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It's the wild dog version of the paparazzi.

Every two kilometres along the western rangelands around Wanaaring and Louth the movement of pests will be captured.

The NSW government has installed 60 infrared camera traps covering 120km to help track the movements and behaviours of wild dogs and feral pigs.

The camera traps, which operate 24/7 and are equipped with infrared sensors to detecting body heat in movement have been laid across properties on the Paroo, Cuttaburra, Warrego and Darling River floodplains.

NSW DPI's Lucy Collingridge, Deane Smith and Paul Meek inspecting camera traps in Nocoleche.

NSW DPI's Lucy Collingridge, Deane Smith and Paul Meek inspecting camera traps in Nocoleche.

"The concept behind the project is to have permanent monitors of predator dogs, fox and cats to try and gather long-term data on how those predators adapt and change over time in those particular areas," Dr Paul Meek from NSW Department of Primary Industries said.

Dr Meek said the latest cameras would join a network of hundreds across the state that are located in the New England Tablelands, Mid and North Coasts.

When the rain disappears in the western region, Dr Meek said a further 60 cameras would be installed.

"The measurement of success of this management intervention will see if populations have declined or stayed the same," Dr Meek said.

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Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the infrared camera traps would help landholders better control the pests, which cause approximately $40 million in damages and lost primary production each year.

"Even wild dogs and pigs traveling under the cover of darkness will have nowhere to hide," Mr Marshall said.

"Our landholders in the far west - as they often do - have played a vital role in this program."

Mr Marshall said the camera trap transects work, which was part of the Western Tracks project, was launched last year to monitor the movements of and control feral pigs and dogs.

During the last 12 months, Mr Marshall said seven wild dogs and 37 feral pigs had been fitted with GPS collars to collect data on their activity, movements and use of more than one million hectares of the western landscape.

"This has given us more detailed information on pest animal movements than we've ever had before, allowing researchers to assess the impact of our aerial and ground baiting programs and gain insights into how wild dogs use the western rangeland habitat,' he said.

Around 60 cameras have been installed across properties on the Paroo, Cuttaburra, Warrego and Darling River.

Around 60 cameras have been installed across properties on the Paroo, Cuttaburra, Warrego and Darling River.

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