12 Jul 2013

Dingoes seen as top threat to sheep farming in Australia

1:15 pm on 12 July 2013

Scientists in Australia are warning that dingoes (wild dogs) could wipe out pastoral sheep farming there in 30 - 40 years, if nothing is done.

A report published in the Australian Veterinary Journal said dingoes are spreading through almost all rangeland areas in Australia where sheep are grazed.

It said they are one of the main causes of the decline in sheep numbers in Australia and a major co-ordinated control effort is needed to counter the dingo threat.

Biosecurity Queensland wild dog officer Ben Allen, one of the authors of the report, said sheep numbers in the state have fallen by about 70% in the past 20 - 30 years. The national average is about 40%.

He told the ABC that farmers need to use the full range of control measures and that includes fencing.

In Western Australia, farmers in the Murchison region have formed a group to ring 10,000 hectares of land with electric fencing to keep out dingos, as well as other pests.

Bob Grinham from Meka Station said the dingo problem is worse than ever.

The ABC reports the fence will stretch for more than 50km. It will also be used to keep out kangaroos and wild goats, which compete with sheep for grazing.