Wild Dog Tracking
AAWS Native and Introduced Wildlife Working Group participants are active in a range of related research projects, not directly funded by AAWS, but of relevance to the working group's on-going activities.
One such project is Tracks, which involves the Council of the City of Gold Coast. It is a three year scientific research program into the ecology of wild dogs in peri-urban areas.
Peri-urban refers to areas between the city’s urban and rural environment.
As research into wild dog ecology to date has focussed on the rural environment, this study hopes to provide valuable insight into how wild dogs utilise the more urban-rural fringing environments.
This three year research project is principally funded by the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre, however six South East Queensland Councils (Moreton Bay, Somerset, Logan, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and City of Gold Coast) are contributing funds and resources to this project which also involves Biosecurity Queensland and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Gold Coast Council is contributing $ 15,000 over a three year period and is actively participating in the project (for example capturing wild dogs, DNA sampling, collaring wild dogs, monitoring and reporting wild dog activity).
Movement of wild dogs into peri-urban areas presents significant human health and safety issues, as well as animal welfare issues through predation on livestock, pets and native animals.
Part of Council’s involvement with the project involves wild dogs being trapped, fitted with GPS tracking collars and released within the Gold Coast.
Data obtained from these collars will provide Council with key insights into the movements, survival rates and habitat use of wild dogs.
Wild dogs that are known to pose a risk to the safety of residents, visitors, pets or livestock will be destroyed rather than being captured and released (after being fitted with a GPS tracking collar).
As such, public complaints relating to wild dog impacts and originating from private property will result in euthanasia of responsible individuals.
However, wild dogs captured on Council estate will be eligible for GPS collaring subject to a risk assessment specific to the area of capture and the suitability of the individual dog.
DNA will also be taken from every captured wild dogs and analysed to determine their genetic origins.
On the 23 July 2013, the first wild dog eligible for the project was captured by Council Pest Animal Management Officers and released after fitment of a GPS tracking collar.
Spatial and temporal data from the tracking device is being acquired every 30 minutes.
This information will provide invaluable insight to understanding how dogs utilise lands within the Gold Coast region.
Naturally, the greater the number of dogs that are captured and collared, the more Council’s animal management section benefits in terms of research assisting ongoing management and in turn better assisting the community and the environment.