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Collective action against wild dogs in the WA Southern Rangelands

Murchison Hub Wild Dog Exclusion Fence

A visit to a section of the Murchison Hub Wild Dog Exclusion Fence formed part of a recent Southern Rangelands Pastoral Alliance (SRPA) meeting at Mt Magnet in Western Australia.

About 70 people, including pastoralists, politicians, Pastoral Lands Board representatives and WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development staff, attended the SRPA gathering, which covered themes including revitalising rangelands, finding business opportunities and reinvigorating the pastoral industry in the WA Southern Rangelands.

CISS-supported Research Masters student, Debbie Dowden, who is also the Chair of the SRPA initiated the event which brought the community together and allowed plenty of time for pastoralists to discuss wild dog control as well as other issues with industry leaders.

Debbie, who is researching community action on wild dog control, as part of the CISS project ‘behaviourally effective communication and engagement in the management of wild dogs‘, has helped to form the Alliance last October when she realised that there was no overarching body that would be able to coordinate collective action against wild dogs across the Southern Rangelands.

She said the alliance was significant because it focused on reinvigorating the pastoral industry. As part of that she hopes that her research will contribute to raising community action on wild dog control within the exclusion fence areas.

“Over time, all three tiers of government have identified ‘revitalising the rangelands’ as part of their economic development strategies,” she said.

“However, until now there’s been no clearly articulated and coordinated pathway through which to deliver development activities.”

Debbie concluded this could be turned around and the SRPA would draw on the experience of local pastoralists to improve degraded landscapes and lift livestock productivity operations.

The following day, a smaller group visited Challa Station to the east to gain an appreciation of rangeland variability in the Murchison.

Thankyou to Debbie Dowden for supplying the text and images for this article.

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