Wild dogs attack economy, community and environment

​28 April 2014

New research into wild dogs in Australia indicates significant potential returns on investments made in wild dog management strategies, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The report, An integrated assessment of the impact of wild dogs in Australia, combines the market impact of wild dog attacks with social and environmental costs to develop a holistic cost-benefit analysis of their effect on Australian agriculture businesses and communities.

ABARES Chief Scientist Kim Ritman said that no previous studies have assessed both the market and non-market impacts of wild dogs in Australia.

“This report estimates the combined market and non-market costs associated with an increase in wild dog attacks in certain regions over 20 years, should management strategies not be applied,” Dr Ritman said.

The report examines three case-study areas in different parts of Australia to evaluate the returns that wild dog management strategies must deliver in order to remain cost effective.

In South Western Queensland, for example, absence of wild dog management strategies could potentially cost the livestock market up to $54 million over 20 years - in an area that represents just 23 per cent of the state's sheep and 4 per cent of the state's cattle.

Impacts beyond the direct costs of livestock losses could include the impact of industries shifting away from sheep farming, loss of associated jobs and skills, reduction in employment and flow-on effects to local communities such as loss of facilities and services. Non-market impacts of wild dogs could include adverse impacts on households, native species and public areas.

“This study found that the non-market impacts of wild dogs in the South Western Queensland case study could reach $344 million over 20 years if no action was taken to mitigate attacks.” said Dr Ritman.

“Understanding both the market and non-market implications of wild dog attacks will provide valuable support for governments and communities aiming to develop cost-effective management programs.”

The report is available from the ABARES website.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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