Living with the land

Mackay Conservation Group member Simon Gedda has been living on a grazing property south of Mackay all his life. Over the years his methods of managing the land have changed including his relationship with dingos. Here's his story...

What I see on our land...

We used to saturate our property with baits until I witnessed the harrowing and cruel death of some of my own dogs from 1080. I decided then that it was too risky for our dogs sake and stopped baiting to see what would happen. Well that was 25 years ago and I haven't baited since. It wasn't until about 10 years ago that I started to realise the importance of the dingo as an important predator in keeping kangaroos, wallabies, rabbits and pigs in check. Also, feral cats do not like hanging around dingo territory. I have seen dingoes chasing wild pigs through mobs of cattle and picking off the piglets one by one. 

I have observed dingoes mingling with unconcerned cows and calves around dams — week after week when all the natural waters have dried up — and came to the conclusion that if the cows aren't worried about them, then “why should I?”. We do have the odd one killed and a few bitten but in the whole scale of our operation it is minuscule and does not warrant retaliation . 

I feel the reason we don't have an issue with losses is that we are better at keeping the cows in good order so they can feed their calves properly so they are not an easy target, and also the cow has a better chance of protecting them. In fact we lose less calves and have fewer bitten now (some years none) than when we use to bait. I consider this to be a management issue. 

I have had a few of my own dogs killed because they wandered away from the safety of the homestead complex but that is my responsibility to make sure they are safe.

Dingoes actually have their own predators, that being Wedgetail Eagles and Carpet snakes when they are vulnerable in the first few weeks of their lives.

I see dingoes on our property, mainly reds with a few black and tans and to tell you the truth I have never seen a "wild dog". I have a respect for them as a major predator, and my fear would be to see the balance shift to the point where I wake up one day and see 50,000 kangaroos eating all our grass, as I witnessed on a property in Western QLD a few years ago. 

 

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