THE fight against the Gympie region's growing wild dog problem looks likely to ramp up with a possible injection of funds from a $500,000 State Government pool, and moves afoot to make it easier for landowners in peri-urban areas to bait with 1080.
Wolvi land owner and peri-urban representative on the Queensland Agforce wild dog committee, Ivan Naggs runs 100-head of brahman on his 300 acres (121ha) and says over the nine years since he first moved into the area, the wild dog problem has definitely worsened.
He loses up to five calves a year to them.
Packs of five to seven frequently appear on his property and he tackles the problem with a combination of shooting and trapping.
Under regulations now under review, Mr Naggs has to obtain the approval and signature of 122 landowners that surround his farm before he can bait with 1080.
He said no figure had been calculated for the financial impact on local graziers of this pest, but that in Queensland each year it was estimated to cost $67 million.
"There is a limit to what councils can do," he said.
"They do the best they can."
A co-ordinated approach between landholders was what was needed, and Agforce had successfully lobbied for five wild dog co-ordinators to be installed throughout the state - Gympie's nearest is in Nambour.
Gympie Regional Council pays $8000-$10,000 a year in wild dog bounties, and Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett said yesterday reports of attacks on stock and domestic animals were increasing all the time.
Mr Perrett is a grazier and a member of the council's land protection advisory committee. He said that apart from the destruction they caused by killing and injuring stock, calves injured by wild dogs instantly lose value.
"Even if they survive and their injuries heal, if they have bite marks on the rump or forequarter they condemn that part of the beast because the muscle is distorted," Mr Perrett said.
He said any extra money the council received towards managing the problem would be best spent educating peri-urban land owners on the importance of keeping their dogs under control so they did not join wild dog packs.
"Cross-bred dogs are just as keen hunters as dingoes but are even more destructive," he said.