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This summer, locals and visitors to the Crescent Head and Maria River areas could be surprised to see ‘high-tech’ dingoes which are helping to improve wildlife management.
The dogs have been wired with satellite-tracking collars in a project funded by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and the Invasive Animals CRC to aid the recovery of threatened native fauna.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) researcher, Guy Ballard, said he was working with local staff from Saltair Flora and Fauna Control, Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW Parks and Wildlife Group, NSW Department of Lands, and regional councils, with support from local residents, to trap and collar dogs in the Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve and surrounding areas.
“Unlike commercially available radio collars which are used to track hunting dogs and pets, the high-tech GPS collars are used to constantly monitor the dogs via satellite,” Dr Ballard said.
“After a set period of time the collars will automatically drop off at a known location. Fortunately, satellite-tracking continues after they drop off, in case other animals or people move the collars.”
DNA samples have been taken to identify dingo and domestic dog genes.
In the project’s first year four dogs caught between North Shore and Crescent Head will be tracked to provide important information about their behaviour and interactions with threatened species.
According to Dr Ballard this monitoring is vital to the management of wildlife.
“Maintaining local populations of animals such as quolls, koalas and squirrel gliders requires active research to complement the efforts of the many local landholders who are working with the Northern Rivers CMA to enhance wildlife habitat,” he said.
“As top predator, the dingoes’ movements, behaviour and diet are likely to have an impact on a range of species that are important to local landholders and the environment.”
More information about the Maria River Threatened Species Recovery Project is available from Dr Guy Ballard on 0408 687 355.
Digital photographs available.
Media contact: Bernadette York 02 6391 3800, 0427 773 785