THE latest tool in the fight against wild dogs has left many in the pastoral industry in WA scratching their heads.
Queensland producers are now using donkeys as part of the arsenal in controlling wild dog attacks on their sheep stations.
Queensland Landmark wool manager Bruce Lines recently organised a shipment of 128 donkeys which were purchased by producers from all over the State.
The donkeys allegedly have a good track record of warding off dogs and Mr Lines said they would act as guardian animals.
But he admitted producers would have a lot of work to do to get the donkeys to bond with the sheep.
Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) pastoral committee executive officer Edgar Richardson was a little baffled by the news but said at this point most pastoralists were willing to try anything.
"Wild dogs have decimated the small stock industry in the Southern Rangelands," he said.
"So if someone says it will work then I bet anyone out there will give it a go."
However there was the serious issue of controlling the donkeys, which were already considered a pest in the pastoral regions.
Mr Richardson said the only way around it was to only use female sterilised donkeys.
"Sterilisation would be the first step, they are already a massive pest and you wouldn't want to exasperate that problem," he said.
In response to claims the donkeys act as guardians, Mr Richardson was sceptical.
"There are huge numbers in the East Pilbara and the Kimberley and there is still a serious dog problem up there," he said.
"Although the possibility of training them is likely, but I don't know how you would get them to bond with the sheep, just put them in a yard and hope for the best maybe."
PGA wild dog spokesman Will Scott said the idea was nothing short of ridiculous.
He said the situation in the Kimberley and the Pilbara proved that it didn't work.
"If they do control dogs then why have we spent millions of dollars shooting them from helicopters up there," Mr Scott said.
"It is the biggest load of rubbish I have come across."
Mr Scott said even if it did work and donkeys did aid in chasing the dogs away, it was not a solution to the problem.
"All you are doing is shifting the problem onto someone else, you still have to kill the dogs," he said.
"It is out of desperation that we are going down this path."
According to Mr Scott the only way to effectively control the problem was through baiting, shooting, trapping and fences.
"It is how they were controlled in the 1900s," he said.
"We need to stop trying to invent the wheel."