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Don't shoot those dingoes!


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Having the correct number of livestock on a given area of land is critical to sustainable land management. Too many animals on a small area of land can expose the soil to wind erosion, water erosion, pugging and compaction; all of which reduce the soil’s ability to produce vigorous, healthy and resilient pastures. Dry Sheep Equivalent (DSE) is a standard unit frequently used in Australia to compare the feed requirements of different classes of stock or to assess the carrying capacity and potential productivity of a given farm or area of grazing land.

 

If you say that a wether or dry ewe represents 1 DSE, then a cow with calf is about 15 DSE, a dry feral goat is 1.5 DSE and a kangaroo is about 0.5 DSE, then you can work out to loss in carrying non-productive grazers. It is hard to find a DSE for feral pigs as 1 DSE is the food requirement for a 50kg sheep, but pigs don't exist solely on grass. They do damage in other ways. One could apply a DSE of at least 2 for a feral pig. So, if you had one goat, one kangaroo and one feral pig, the total DSEs to support them would be 4 DSE, costing you four dry sheep, or a quarter of a cow and calf. A rabbit is 0.7 DSE.

 

In the past the numbers of these unproductive animals were controlled by human interference - shooting, poisoning, fencing. In the case of rabbits, biological control was also used. However, these methods involve financial outlay, further reducing the annual bottom line of the agricultural business. Now many graziers are taking advantage of dingoes as a cost-free, 24/7 means of reducing the numbers of these unwanted animals, and they are finding that by reducing the stress on vegetation that comes from removing them, there is a windfall benefit of rejuvenation.

 

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Growing up on the farm, dingoes were considered a threat to our newborn calves, so I shot a couple for the bounty. (Actually finding a dingo in the bush was an achievement that required hours of silent stalking in bare feet.) One was a female, obviously feeding a large litter. The knowledge that I’d condemned her little pups to death by starvation sure put a damper on my hunting instinct.

 

Lots of research since then has shown dingoes prefer wildlife to farm animals, but I bet a lot of woolgrowers dispute that.

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1 hour ago, Old Koreelah said:

Lots of research since then has shown dingoes prefer wildlife to farm animals, but I bet a lot of woolgrowers dispute that.

 

Like the understanding of the original occupants' social, spiritual and survival matters, early settlers did not have a clue about the inter-relationships of animals, fish and plants in the environment. It would be reasonable to assume that if you saw a dingo carting off a lamb carcase, or an eagle doing the same, that the bird or dog had killed it. However, I believe that these animals just took advantage of windfall food sources and took dead, or dying animals that provided food without the effort of catching and killing. You can't blame these hunters for deaths of a few young animals amongst a large population. They probably only take out those young who were already at Death's door.

 

The video points out that, as a result of dingo predation on feral animals and macropods, the stress on pastures and other vegetation has been relieved and carrying capacity has increased. Also, the claim that dingos kill calves is countered by the finding that if there is plenty of feed near water sources, the cow doesn't have to leave the calf unprotected while she goes to eat for both of them. 

 

Two things - Is the current generation of graziers more educated in the behaviours of dingos than their forebears? Do dingos attack chooks at night, or is it only foxes and feral cats that do that?

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We need to train up the dingoes to kill feral cats. Of the all the massive destruction done to our native wildlife, feral cats rate as the worst thing that has ever happened to Australia. 

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Cats, Rabbits and Cane toads and some ant in Qld and the thing that got the Prawn Industry. Disease from frozen uncooked prawns and CARP. Oh and Lantana Caltrop Foxes Black berry Feral Pigs and water buffalo and HUMANS.. Etc Etc.. Nev

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Give the place back to the First Nations. They seem to be able to point out everything that Europeans, Asians, Africans and North & South Americans did wrong when they came here. If they can pick out teh faults, they should have teh answers after 60,000+ years of living here.

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Wild cat are a difficult thing for any other animal to take on. No self respecting dog would try to take out a wild cat, it is just too dangerous. The cat can rip an eye out and inflict bog damage with its claws.

Sheep can get stuck on their backs if they have a fair fleece on them, then it is just tie until they die and also probably have their eyes pecked out by crows before death. Pigs do so much damage because they eat anything and also root up plants, killing them and opening up the soil for degradation. Goats may only be about 1.5 dry sheep equivalent, but they will eat every last living thing in poor times, whereas a sheep would die before it caused too much degradation. Horses are similar.

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