Rising kangaroo prices impact targeted baiting programs

Landholders across four states are now using more targeted pest animal baiting programs on the back of rising kangaroo meat prices.

A combination of drought, falling kangaroo quotas and skyrocketing red meat prices have resulted in wild dog management groups paying up to $6.20/kg for kangaroo meat for their spring 2021 baiting campaigns.

National Wild Dog Action Plan Management Coordinator Greg Mifsud said the option of using meat from large feral animal culling programs was an option on the table.

 “Through the National Wild Dog Action Plan, we are working with our national and industry stakeholders to investigate options for utilising meat from these culling programs where they are accessible,” Mr Mifsud said.

“There is the possibility of using mobile processing capabilities to retrieve the carcases from more remote locations.

“With ongoing droughts and the decline in the kangaroo harvesting industry, we have to become more savvy and take the opportunity to use processed meat from these culling operations of feral camel, deer and donkey.

“This is becoming a national issue due to Australia’s climatic conditions and ongoing drought reducing kangaroo populations – feral animal management groups are struggling to secure meat in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.”

In South West Queensland, Paroo Wild Dog Advisory Committee president Peter Lucas said prices of $6.20/kg for kangaroo meat had been quoted for their October 2021 baiting campaign.

“I put it down to no kangaroo quotas in western Queensland so the kangaroo industry out here is gone,” Mr Lucas said.

“We are trying to be more strategic in our baiting but the price of our baiting programs have become very expensive.

“We’ve had to change our programs around as Paroo Shire Council gives us a budget, and we have to stick to it – we are looking at $80,000 a year to do two baiting programs and (employ professional trappers).

“We have started charging all our landholders $2/kg for the meat we supply to them to get some funds back off that high cost of meat.

“Council will be looking at the budget for this financial year and if meat gets much dearer, we will have to put up the landholder charge to balance our budget.”

The Paroo Wild Dog Advisory Committee did its first coordinated baiting program in 2002 and the “Paroo Model” of wild dog management on a landscape scale has since been widely adopted throughout western Queensland.

“It is one of the most successful wild dog control programs around,” Mr Lucas said.

“For the first baiting program in 2002 we purchased the meat and gave it to the landholders, resulting in better participation, but we were paying 70c/kg then.

“Now meat is the most expensive part of the baiting program.”

Last May, the Paroo Wild Dog Advisory Committee and Paroo Shire distributed 13, 318kg of wild dogs baits and 100kg of pig baits to 78 properties – six more than the previous campaign.

The aerial and ground baiting program last November distributed 11,780kg of baits in the shire.

Paroo Shire employs two professional trappers for 25 days each and they advise the committee on strategic areas to bait.

The Shire paid out $2250 in scalp bounties for the 2020-21 financial year for a total of 45 dogs.

Mr Lucas said four professional wild dog trappers were employed in the shire from February to May in 2019, followed by two trappers for the 2019 spring baiting.

“The number of wild dogs in our shire is not massive – from January to July 1 2021 we had 28 wild dog scalps handed in.

“We are putting our trappers into areas where we didn’t really know what the number of wild dogs were there.

“We are trying to be more strategic in our baiting by following the wild dog corridors. We don’t want people throwing out baits willy nilly everywhere.

“If there is no sign of wild dogs on your property then we won’t be baiting there.”

More information on the Paroo Model