A NEW bait for wild dogs - with an antidote - could soon be available to farmers to use in the battle against wild dogs and foxes.
Known as p-aminopropiophenone, or PAPP for short, the bait has been in the pipeline since 2003.
This month the application for the bait to be registered was submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre (IACRC) chair Helen Cathles said PAPP was a humane way to kill wild dogs and had an antidote, as opposed to 1080.
"It has taken a long time; much longer than anyone anticipated it would," she said.
"Wild dogs are out there - they’ll always be out there - and we need better technologies to out-smart them.
"We need to continue the research.
"There are many families that have lost their livlelihoods due to the impact of wild dogs.
"There are hundreds of thousands of acres across Australia which are out of wool production because of the impact of wild dogs."
Mrs Cathles said PAPP was not designed to replace 1080, rather to be used in conjunction with it and other control programs.
"We need to be able to fill the gaps," she said.
"A lot of people won’t use 1080 because they’ve had experiences with their working dogs picking up their baits and dying.
"PAPP can be taken up by those people because there is an antidote."
Simon Humphrys is one of the scientists behind the development of the PAPP fox and wild dog baits, and he said the chemical was first looked at in the 1940s and ’50s as an antidote for cyanide poisoning in the military.
"It was actually thought that it would be administered to people," he said.
"In generating the toxicological data that would be required - before it could be administered to a person - they did quite a bit of work on rodents and dogs.
"Dogs were particularly sensitive to the motor action of the chemical."
Dr Humphrys said the chemical oxidised the animals’ haemoglobin so as it could not carry oxygen.
"It does it in a way that basically puts the animal to sleep and then the animal never wakes up," he said.
"If you have to use lethal control in managing a population of animals, this is probably one of the nicer ways of doing it."
PAPP has drawbacks; some native reptiles are particularly sensitive to the chemical and it will be more expensive than 1080.
"In some areas of Australia 1080 would still be the preferred chemical because it has very few effects on reptiles," Dr Humphrys said.
"PAPP, because it has an antidote - and that’s the key defining factor between this chemical and 1080 - can probably be more safely used closer to dwellings and closer to town boundaries.
"Because PAPP is going to be more expensive, I think 1080 will maintain its place in a rangeland pastoral context."
An APVMA spokeswoman said PAPP would undergo a full risk assessment before it was registered, which could take 15 months.
"This includes detailed assessments to ensure that when registered, its use will not have any unintended effects to human health or the environment and that it will be effective," she said.
The research into PAPP has been predominately funded by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), which invested $3.1 million into the project.
The IACRC and AWI has sub-licensed the commercialisation rights for the use of the chemical in wild dog and fox baits to Animal Control Technologies Australia (ACTA), which already manufactures baits containing 1080.