The NT’s wild dog population: a study to determine the extent of the problem

The department is asking Northern Territory stations to keep notes about their perceptions of wild dog behaviour. Ultimately, it is about developing a system to stop young cattle from being hounded (and even worse) by these carnivores; however, to establish a system, hard evidence is required, so capturing the frequency and other ‘damage’ data is needed before a best practice solution can be worked out. After all, the health and longevity of our breeding herds are most important.

Data will then be analysed to paint a picture of overall regional, and more detailed, property estimates for the frequency that mauled young cattle appear at muster. Young cattle with signs of dog attacks will be described, and the associations between risk factors (cow-age class, baiting attributes, location, proximity to a national park, etc.) considered. Equally of interest, is assessing the predictability of reproductive failure rates using indicators of wild dog activity, as well as gauging the effectiveness of practices to regulate the control of wild dogs.

Using a variety of information gathering, collaborating stations will be asked to report on the number of calves and weaners observed with wild-dog bite damage. A draft version of the web-based form is available at There will be various other options to capture data or historical records. And of course, project staff will be available to lend a hand.

This team ensures anonymity. The data compiled, regardless of being oral, written, or electronic, will be identified with only a code within a database, and the key is held only by the project manager. All findings on individual properties will only be reported directly to the property owner/manager. External reporting will only occur after written permission from the property owner/manager. The copyright for all data collected will be held by the project exclusively.

If interested in participating in the study, or to learn more, call Kieren McCosker, Beef Production Scientist, phone: 0889739771 or by email:

Last updated: 19 December 2016