The issue of Feral animals is always on our radar here in the hills.
The community has been active over a number of years in control and research into the issue.
We have settled on a position of a level of acceptance that there will always be a level of feral animal presence in our environment and that to some extent they play their part in the balance of things.
However, we also know that we cannot let numbers get out of control because then this balance is unsettled.
Additionally, we are aware that from time to time particular ferals will become nuisances towards domestic animals and even occasionally towards humans (very rare).
Many of us pay rural rates to Local Land Services (LLS) for them to assist us with these controls but the reality is we get virtually no help from this quarter. I highlight here that many, many residents have tried to open up this pathway over the years but it has always led to a dead end.
After much lobbying by us and other Shire groups and individuals, for some time Byron Council had assisted with paying for the costs of retaining a trapper leaving us (in our area) with the cost of paying the trapper’s other costs.
This was initially $100 a kill in the case of a feral dog. These days this is $200 each.
Unfortunately, Council no longer is willing to pay its contribution falling back on the argument that it is not its responsibility but that of the LLS.
We continue to push the Council for a better outcome but with the revolving door of managers with this responsibility at Council, it is a frustrating and boring argument.
In the meanwhile, this community has operated with a community fund (held by Goonengerry Landcare) which combines individual and property donations and which is activated when a problem feral or pack is highlighted.
Right now it seems to be one of those moments when we have an upswing in feral dog and fox activity around the top of Goonengerry and with indications that these then spread out mostly east and north.
When we have had a moment of consistent sightings and nuisance we can decide to activate the community fund to get the trapper in.
Note that the trapper we use uses soft jaw traps (less issue for the collateral catch) and euthanised with a rifle.
I would normally recommend this right now but need to layout the now much higher costs involved.
Say we wanted to get the trapper to focus on 3-5 properties where sightings have been most prevalent.
- He would charge $200 per property to come out with his dog and do some sniffing around and set traps if appropriate. Note here that if some of the properties are adjoining we could probably reduce the charge from 5 properties to the equivalent of maybe 3.
- He will then come and check these traps every 3 days at $40/hour.
- Each kill is another charge of $200.
- Other potential charges; if any of his traps are damaged by landowners driving over them, $150. If he is called out in the middle of the night extra charge of $150 (as opposed to after 6am).
So potentially to cover 5 properties near each other over a 2-3 week targetted period we might be looking at somewhere between $1000 and $2000 depending on how many animals are caught.
We have $480 in the fund right now.
So if we are to do this we need another round of inputs.
Let me know your thoughts.