Virtual fences to detect wild dogs

Longreach technology startup alerting landholders to wild dog breaches at creek crossings


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Virtual fencing techniques have been applied to creek crossing in the exclusion fences criss-crossing western Queensland.

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Sights such as this exclusion fence across a creek could be a thing of the past.

Sights such as this exclusion fence across a creek could be a thing of the past.

Virtual fencing techniques have been applied to the weak point in the exclusion fences criss-crossing western Queensland, with the result that a new product, described as a world first, is about to hit the market.

Developed by two men with roots in the central west, the software and hardware combination, powered by the sun, claims to remotely detect and count the presence of wild dogs.

Co-founder, Keith Gordon, said Dog Detect came about when he saw both the benefits of the cluster fences going up, and the challenges posed when steep creek channels were encountered.

“Any physical fence will be impacted by water, particularly when grasses and branches build up,” he said.

“As a result, in times of flood the fences can be potentially breached, allowing dogs to enter.

“I proposed a solution to augment the wild dog fences with what we now call a ‘virtual dog fence’.”

He enlisted Andrew Barton, who has already developed computerised detection systems, to both build a solution and a team to deliver it.

“It is world first technology. There is nothing else like it. “Trust me, I’ve looked, and it was developed right here in Longreach” Keith said.

Both Andrew and Keith were aware of how unforgiving western Queensland was on gear left out in hot conditions and said they knew that building a “smart bit of tech” that could handle being left on a post in a paddock all year would be no easy task.

“But we got there,” Andrew said.

They hope the detection device will become the first within a portfolio of products that will meet the needs of central west landholders, Dog Deter being the next cab expected off the rank.

Remote Area Planning and Development Board chairman, Rob Chandler, said the technology was a great addition to the cluster fences that were having a great benefit across the region.

“RAPAD is proud of the strong working relationship we have with startups, innovation and technology,” he said. “This product is a great combination of how new technology is being applied to help bring back a great traditional industry and it’s being developed, not in Silicon Valley, but right here on our patch.”

The technology’s most recent trial was in the Longreach district in December 2017, after two years of work and trials across the central west.

While Dog Detect will undergo further trialing before being made commercially available, the company, Outback Property Solutions is taking expressions of interest for people keen to participate in trials or wanting to place an order.

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