August 2016 | Edition 2016 / 4
Stakeholder Consultative Group Forum
The forum for stakeholders involved in the National Wild Dog Action Plan (NWDAP) was held in Sydney on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd July, 2016. Forty-eight delegates attended across the sessions, for updates on implementation of the plan through the Federal and Western Australian Government funded special projects and through the activities of individual stakeholders or their organisations. The delegates also workshopped the fundamentals of an operational plan for 2017/18.
The foundation of the NWDAP remains solid. There is ongoing support for landscape-scale nil-tenure approaches, agreed through community led wild dog management plans containing best practice control tools. This shared problem/shared solution approach gives confidence to all investors. Community-based wild dog control groups are seeing results with reports of small native birds, reptiles and marsupials returning and the sheep, goat and cattle productivity increasing.
In peri-urban areas, Iain Jamieson, Senior Pest Management Specialist, City of Gold Coast, reported the trapping of 30 wild dogs in 12 months. The work of the City of Gold Coast shows that wild dogs live within 700 metres of residential developments. Because dogs move through the urban landscape, both new residential developments and existing residential sites are impacted by wild dogs. Wild dogs are adapting to an urban environment with home ranges shrinking to about 1km sq, they are found where there is either dense understory or only a canopy and have been seen in packs of up to 12 dogs. They can be a human (and pet) health risk particularly in public places such as parks. Residents and developers make up community groups and residents are the spokespeople for the control activities taking place. Priorities for the residents are providing transparent information and confidence in animal welfare.
Geoff Power from South Australia was elected Chairman of the SCG with Peter Star from Victoria as Vice Chair.
Peter Star is the principle partner of a beef cattle and super fine merino enterprise in the upper North East of Victoria. He is a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Land Management Committee, and the VFF representative to the National Farmers Federation’s Natural Resource Management Committee.
Peter’s resource management involvement extends to membership of the Lake Hume Community Reference Group and President of the Wises Creek-Talgarno Landcare Group. He has been a landholder representative to the Victorian State Government’s Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee and the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group (a forerunner of the National Wild Dog Action Plan governance structures). He has also been the VFF representative on the Dingo Working Group which looked at the Victorian Fauna and Flora Act listing of protected species.
Peter’s leadership and organisation abilities also extended to coordinating the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus release program for the Wises Creek-Talgarno Landcare Group and the repairs and replacement program for the Group’s 25km Granya Wild Dog Exclusion Fence.
Sharing your wild dog story/event with local media
Encouraging the local media outlets to take an interest in stories from local wild dog groups is a great way to start a conversation on the topic within the wider community. Every community-based group has the opportunity to let the local paper, commercial radio station or ABC rural reporter know what is happening; by picking up the phone and making contact with a local journalist. A simple email to the editor of your local paper is a great start.
Some handy tips:
- Journalists are always looking for an exclusive and really appreciate when a community member approaches them directly for a story. They may not run your story every time, but giving them options for future editions gives them the chance to concentrate on the quality of the story too.
- Have a calendar of your group activities or events written down in your wild dog management plan – so that you can notify a journalist in advance that the group is meeting. It could be an Annual General Meeting, a planning/mapping meeting for decisions on control, a training or information session or it could be an operational event. Some media outlets do community announcements so you can ask to use the community diary to publicise your meeting. The journalist may want to visit your event in person or just interview someone over the phone afterwards. Ask the journalist what type of stories they might be interested in.
- You can just make a phone call to the media outlet or you can email them a MEDIA RELEASE; either way you should be clear about the facts you want to get across
- When writing a media alert for your event, you can follow these steps:
- WHAT: Give a short title to the event or media release e.g. Wild Dog talks in the [town] Community
- WHEN, WHERE, WHAT: The first sentence you say or write should tell the journalist exactly what is going to happen (or has happened), where it’s happening, and when, so they can decide if they are interested or not (no one has time to wait till the end of the story).
- WHY and WHO: The next sentence should frame why this is happening (preferably referring to the spokesperson for your group). The spokesperson can be quoted in following sentences to provide more detail if it is a media release. It also helps to be able to briefly include an example or story of another person in the community who is affected by the issue.
- Keep your media release to one page!
- Always leave a phone contact and email for the journalist to make it easy to follow up the story with you.
- Have several local spokespeople for your group up your sleeve, and use them for various themes so they become familiar to the journalist and to your community, for example:
- John Smith runs sheep on his property and lost X amount to wild dog damage.
- Sally Rogers is part of the local Landcare group.
- Jane Doe is a local vet and sees the damage caused by wild dogs and knows what diseases they can transfer.
- Tim Jones’ pet dog was attacked by a wild dog.
- Make your stories about LOCAL PEOPLE and don’t be afraid of emotion (happy/sad/positive/negative). Emotions attract a journalist because their audience can connect with the story. Supply photos of those local people (with names).
If you’re ready to make an impact in the local media but you would like to get further clarification on the process, you can contact the National Wild Dog Action Plan Communications Coordinator on 02 6201 5509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mid-term review of NWDAP
The National Wild Dog Action Plan is being independently reviewed to see how it is progressing and if it is achieving its goals. The review is being conducted by GHD Pty/Ltd and headed by Joe Lane. Many would know Joe from his years in consultancy for GHD and formerly Hassall’s and Associates and his time at NSW Farmers Association. The review will be completed by May 2017. For more information see the Terms of Reference.
Wild Dog Scan – FeralScan app now uploads photos
Wouldn’t it be great if you could add some photographic evidence of the wild dog you are recording on WildDogScan? Good news, now you can and it will appear on the map. This feature works for any pest in FeralScan and any type of record such as impacts and control activities.
Photos you submit will display for you and any community groups you give permission to within FeralScan. If approved by the FeralScan program supervisors, photos can be viewed on the maps by other FeralScan users. Photos could include individual animals in the wild, footprints and camera trap photos.
A great benefit for WildDogScan users are that photos of individual dogs can be recognised and give greater insight into where the animal is heading or if they are no longer a threat.
To make use of this feature, please install (or update to) the latest version of the FeralScan App on your mobile device. To upload photos, simply select an image from your computer or phone while you are submitting a record, and it will then display on the map. Each photo can be viewed when you click on the record, and can be enlarged.