INFRARED and genetic testing are the latest tools being used in the capture of and research into wild dogs close to Upper Hunter wilderness areas.
A combined team launched an operation in the Widden and Baerami areas, close to the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park late last month, which netted 39 wild dogs.
Some of the animals were DNA-tested to assess the number of possible ‘‘pures’’, dogs that may be dingoes.
Movement-activated cameras are also used to identify feral dogs and rule out the presence of dingoes.
Dingoes are entitled to protection and can be used for breeding programs.
The genetic samples are sent to National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is responsible for the testing.
Hunter Central rivers Catchment Management Authority Upper Hunter co-ordinator Steve Eccles said destroyed dogs were DNA tested as well and it was not likely any of those had enough pure dingo genetic markers.
The results of the genetic testing were not yet available.
Other partners in the operation were the Mid-Coast Livestock Health and Pest Authority, responsible for the Upper Hunter and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Authority chief ranger Peter Fotheringham said the use of infrared cameras enabled the agencies to identify individual dogs, their numbers and habits and whether baits were in the right areas.
‘‘The cameras are helpful to establish evidence of what is really there,’’ Mr Fotheringham.
‘‘Trapping is very expensive and labour intensive.’’
Mr Eccles said the operation, that finished in late July, resulted in significant cost reductions.
Land close to the Wollemi National Park was chosen because of its many threatened species, including the brush-tailed rock wallaby.