With the onset on the drought farmers in the Lower Anabranch noticed a dramatic increase in the number of kangaroos that were travelling south towards the Murray River in search of water. Kangaroo populations are at unsustainable levels and so the Lower Anabranch Farming Innovation Group formed in 2017 to build an exclusion fence perpendicular to the Anabranch River so that landholders could control the grazing pressure on the environment.
But such a large project requires large amounts of funding and due to the political climate that surrounds exclusion fencing the group quickly found that their reason for existing was fading. The group needed a project to keep members engaged and motivated.
The solution was a working dog school. A professionally run school that taught landholders how to train their dogs so that can easily and quickly herd their stock with minimal stress to their animals. This was a perfect choice of project since many of the groups members were sheep farmers that owned working dogs but many of them were not trained properly.
Assisted by Red Cross Australia the community came together to get their dogs in the yards and catch up with their neighbours.
This project kept the group moving forward while they awaited to hear the results from various funding applications to do their major project of exclusion fencing. The project got members engaged in the group and thinking about the multiple benefits that Landcare has other than caring for the land. It showed them that landcare is also about community, about relationships and about people. The group is however facing the same problem again as is evident by a reduction in members and the resigning of group office bearers. A new project is needed soon that will bring members back, improving motivation to pursue their ultimate goal.
For more information and PDF download please visit: https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/Western_landcare/working-the-dogs-at-anabranch/