Producers in Western NSW have called on Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall to cease a wild dog collaring project that has so far seen seven wild dogs trapped and released.
The Western Tracks collaring project, that provided beneficial monitoring data on wild pigs, was replicated in wild dogs this March with the aim of increasing the understanding of their movements by collaring 30 animals.
The data would then be used to understand the effectiveness of routine control programs and better target wild dogs and avoid dog bait uptake by feral pigs.
Bourke producer and Ledknapper Wild Dog Group member Nancy Robinson said many in the region feared the project was an attempt to obtain information to establish a managed native dog conservation zone.
Ms Robinson and her husband Mal moved to Ellerslie in 1968 with no knowledge of wild dogs, but over 50 years their wild dog management has greatly improved.
"Funds spent on this project would be best allocated to landholders for monitoring cameras, more baiting, exclusion fencing, professional doggers, employing the best trappers to assist landholders in problem hot spots," she said.
"This information was not accessible 30 years ago, when trapping a wild dog was 'secret men's business'.
"Fortunately this no longer applies and there is extensive information and research results available to landholders."
As of March 22 no dogs had been trapped and collared but an update on June 11 notified landholders that seven dogs had been collared.
Three were still alive and would resume normal behaviour for 12 months when the collars were programmed to fall off.
The project covers flood and associated country of the Paroo, Cuttaburra, Warrego and Darling River systems in the Western Local Land Services region.
The office of the Minister for Agriculture said landholders were consulted prior to the commencement of the project which then received their endorsement in mid-2019 at two pest animal forums.
It is understood no livestock have been harmed by a collared wild dog but if it were to occur, landholders would be provided with the dog's location so it could be destroyed.
Minister Adam Marshall said the NSW government had been using GPS collars to track wild dogs for more than 20 years and the data had helped deliver proven, long-term wild dog management benefits.
"The Western Tracks project is no different," he said.
"It will provide us with valuable data on the movements of wild dogs and feral pigs, as well as how they use the landscape at different times of the year, which will be used to build on our successful pest management programs.
"While this project is taking place, we encourage landholders to carry out their routine pest management programs, as this will also help show how effective our current programs are, and how we can ensure they remain as effective as possible into future."
Ms Robinson estimated wild dogs cost $300 to $600 a day or $100,800 to $201,600 a year.
"Out of the last 20 years a lot of landholders have had 15 to 16 years of drought and you don't battle to feed your stock or buy new stock in to feed wild dogs," she said.