Setting measurable objectives
Goals are general aims of the working plan, and need to be written down. They are broad statements of what stakeholders want to achieve from the plan. Examples include: ‘Minimise livestock predation by wild dogs’, ‘Maintain a population of dingoes in a particular area’ or ‘Prevent spread of disease by wild dogs’.
For each goal identified by stakeholders, a means of measuring it must also be determined. These measurements will allow the progress of the management actions to be monitored and assessed.
Unlike objectives (see below), goals do not have specific time limits attached to them. Monitoring goals is usually about numbers, such as:
- area covered by management activities
- stakeholders participating
- animal losses
- bait used
- people satisfied
- dollars spent
- time involved in management.
For goals related to livestock losses, lambing or calving percentages and numbers of animals that have been injured or killed might be the most appropriate measures. Similar measures can be recorded if a goal is to minimise predation of a native animal. Regardless of the animal type, it is important to try to collect this information from places not participating in control programs too, in order to make comparisons.
Objectives are more specific than goals and have a defined timeframe. Objectives can be long or short term, and both should be included in the plan. Setting objectives helps to refine the necessary management actions. Having clear objectives also directs what types of monitoring are needed to measure and evaluate progress.
If a stakeholder goal is to keep wild dogs out of a particular area, a related short-term objective may be to erect a dog-proof fence around that area by a certain date. An associated long-term objective might be to check the fence weekly for the next year. Another short-term objective to achieve the same goal could be to implement a trapping and baiting program to remove wild dogs living within the area by the end of the month, with an associated long-term objective of baiting within and around the area each season for the next year.
Importantly, each objective should relate to at least one goal, have a measurable number and a measureable timeframe. They must also be achievable. The key issue here is finding the balance between easy-to achieve objectives that will do little to reach the goal, and objectives that would easily achieve the goal but are impossibly difficult.
Remember, if records of actions are not kept, then progress towards achieving objectives and goals can’t be assessed for success.
Guides to help develop a wild dog management plan:
- Have you got wild dogs? - Detecting the presence of wild dogs and their impacts: It is common for wild dogs to be present in an area but go unnoticed or unrecognised. No matter what colour […]
- Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs - The Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs is a general guide to managing populations of wild dogs in Australia.
- Guidelines for Preparing a Working Plan to Manage Wild Dogs (brown book) - These guidelines may be used to help stakeholders complete a working plan to manage wild dogs for any purpose.
- Working Plan to Manage Wild Dogs (green book) - This document outlines a six-step strategic approach to the management of dingoes and other wild dogs