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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

10 November 2005

Funding for WA wild dog fence study

A study into the use of fencing to protect Western Australia's livestock from wild dogs has been officially announced by the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage and WA Senator, Ian Campbell.

The $20,000 study, to be undertaken by the Western Australian Pastoralist and Graziers Association, will investigate the costs and benefits of installing an exclusion fence from east of Meekatharra to east of Esperance, to keep wild dogs from attacking sheep and cattle.

Senator Campbell said the Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre would provide the funding from one of its partners, Australian Wool Innovations, for the important research.

He thanked colleagues Science Minister, Dr Brendan Nelson, and Agriculture Minister, Peter McGauran, for supporting the study.

"Feral animals, including Western Australia's wild dogs, have a devastating impact on our environment and our farmers' livelihoods," Senator Campbell said.

"I heard first-hand about the extent of the problem during a recent visit to the north-west and eastern Goldfields. One pastoralist had lost his entire sheep stock to wild dog attacks, despite his best efforts to manage the problem. His story is unfortunately not uncommon.

"The situation is dire and it is important that all possible solutions are investigated. Exclusion fences have been effective in South Australia and NSW and this Australian Government-funded study will consider whether an exclusion fence is a viable option for this part of Western Australia."

Senator Campbell said controlling Western Australia's wild dogs was integral to the preservation of biodiversity in the region.

"These animals are extremely mobile and a threat to native animals as well as sheep and cattle. Their economic impact is estimated to be more than $60 million each year, not to mention the environmental and social costs involved," he said.

"The Australian Government is already contributing $300,000 to help tackle the problem – funding to improve the data collected on wild dog activity, its impact and control.

"This latest study shows how seriously the Australian Government is taking feral animal control, and the willingness of government and industry to work together to find the best solutions."

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434.

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