From the branches of a eucalyptus tree, by the side of the road near Omeo, hang the carcasses of wild dogs.
Omeo (Victoria) is a small town at the entrance to the Snowy Mountains in Victoria. It’s population of 487 residents is nestled around undulating hills and valleys dotted with sheep. As first glance you could be forgiven for viewing this as an idyll area, part of the Australian picturesque, yet the presence of the dog tree reveals an ecosystem out of balance.
Wild dogs roam the hills of Omeo. They attack koalas, cattle, sheep and lambs causing financial losses to the farmers not to mention the deaths inflicted upon the livestock. They have even been said to stalk people.
Farmers bait and shoot the wild dogs though the reason why they are then hung from trees has been debated. Farmers have said it is to show other farmers there is one less dog to be concerned about. It is also to help other farmers know that a specific dog has been killed. Others maintain that the trees are a form of protest against the government’s inaction against this environmental problem. It should be noted that there is also the question whether these dogs have bred with Australia’s native dog, the dingo, and is therefore a protected species.
It was a macabre sight and one which raised awareness of yet another environmental issue here in Australia. The stench of decay and the presence of biting ants prevented me from recording close to the tree, the only sound being the stridulation of cicadas and bird calls sounding from surrounding bush. It was the only recording I made that day.
To read more about the wild dogs read here.