Wild dogs are a major problem for many livestock producers across Australia. Often, wild dog control has necessarily been reactive and expensive, with landholders and contractors effectively forced to ‘chase’ dogs after livestock have been maimed and killed. In chronic cases this can go on for weeks, months or even years, taking a heavy toll on enterprises, families and communities. Tracking studies show that wild dogs may be present on farms for days or weeks before losses occur.
Wild Dog Alert is a system that firmly places livestock producers and other land managers on the front foot to manage wild dogs. Combining automated recognition of camera trap images with real-time messaging, the Wild Dog Alert system notifies producers that wild dogs have been detected at a camera trap on their farm before attacks occur to enable producers to act early. This gives farmers a ‘first strike’ capability in their fight against wild dogs, so they can be proactive and put in place immediate and targeted management strategies to avoid stock losses.
Three modalities have been designed and field tested;
This project was led by NSW DPI and UNE and supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment Meat and Livestock Australia, and Australian Wool Innovation.
August 2020 update:
The wild dog alert project team developed and field tested four outputs that can provide land managers with accurate real time evidence that wild dogs are present on their land. The alert system uses images gathered via remote camera traps and transmitted to the cloud for processing. The team developed the algorithms that, once trained, identify wild dogs from these images. Once detected, the system then sends an alert to the land manager advising the presence of the wild dogs and the location at which they were detected.
Several automated detection systems were developed to allow users to tailor the system to their needs and the availability, or lack of, cellular mobile services across their property.
Development and testing of these products is complete, and the core project is complete. The project has entered the commercialisation phase with the State of New South Wales acting through the Department of Primary Industries within the Department of Regional NSW being nominated as the Designated Partner to take the product forward for commercialisation. CISS and the projects Commercialisation Governance Committee will monitor the progress of the commercialisation process.
This research project was world class and places the project team at the edge of Blue Sky Technology. The devices are currently being refined for commercialisation.