Potential human, animal health impacts from wild dogs

New research findings have found that wild dogs can live within 1km of urban residential areas and can carry a number of diseases that could potentially be transferred to humans and livestock, prompting new strategies to minimise the risks they could pose to human and animal health.

The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) has released a report on the research, which formed the basis of a long-term peri-urban wild dog project in northern Australia, funded through the previous Invasive Animals CRC and the Queensland Government.

Greg Mifsud, National Wild Dog Management Coordinator emphasised that local authorities have been calling for the need to improve our understanding of the impacts of wild dogs in peri-urban areas so that tailored management strategies and options can be developed for urban land managers.

“The report details a number of recommendations for land managers in both rural and peri-urban areas based on research conducted in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Project leader and Senior Zoologist with Biosecurity Queensland, Dr Matt Gentle said that while tracking wild dogs in peri-urbans areas over four years found that they have the potential to impact both humans and animals.

“We not only found that wild dogs in peri-urban areas were responsible for attacks on livestock, pets and wildlife, but we also found that they were carrying parasites that could lead to diseases in humans, although attacks on people were rare.

“Given these potential impacts, it is essential that we develop strategies to both communicate and manage this risk in urban areas.

“Our findings recommend the development of a best-practice guide to highlight the strategies, practices and personal protective equipment required to minimise the risks of transmitting diseases to people, livestock and pets,” Dr Gentle said.

You can read the full report developed by Dr Gentle and his team titled ‘Peri-urban wild dogs in north-eastern Australia’ here – www.pestsmart.org.au/peri-urban-wild-dog

(image supplied by Glen Alchin)