Wild dogs are about to get the Big Brother treatment with facial recognition software central to a new real-time monitoring system for farmers.
It’s hoped the new Wild Dog Alert system will better protect livestock by sending real-time messages about wild dog presence on properties. An in-built camera, recognition software and satellite communication are combined to automate wild dog detection and send an alert.
The new tech comes after southern landholders along the area from Nimmitabel up to Braidwood reported many wild dogs attacks, which Forestry Corporation has blamed on the drought forcing dogs further afield into grazing land.
The Department of Primary Industries says the Wild Dog Alert early warning technology offers producers the ability to detect dogs before they attack, at any time of the day and in remote locations.
“Wild Dog Alert is a one-stop, solar powered shop, which detects wild dogs in a 360 degree zone using a tri-sensor system,” DPI invasive species officer Paul Meek said.
“Landholders can take instant action and work with neighboring properties and wild dog management groups to immediately address issues, not days after wild dogs cause carnage.”
Wild dogs are expected to feature heavily across the 11 LLS Regional Pest Plans that will be launched in July 1.
Mr Meek said the aim was to cut the emotional and financial toll caused by wild dog predation.
The repercussions from wild dogs killing and injuring stock can go on for weeks or months to take a heavy toll on business, families and communities.
“Too often farmers spend sleepless nights not knowing if wild dogs have entered properties, putting livestock at risk – it’s all too late to act when they wake to paddocks of dead animals,” Dr Meek said.
Led by Dr Greg Falzon, DPI researches and the University of New England have partnered with Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, to deliver the new tool.
Dr Meek said Wild Dog Alert aims to help land managers boost the effectiveness of baiting campaigns and other wild dog control options.
“We are currently testing the components to ensure our device is robust and fit-for-purpose,” he said.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure this cutting edge technology is able to deliver on-farm for livestock producers.”
Researchers propose to have a working prototype Wild Dog Alert system by June 2019.