Understanding the drivers and barriers towards the adoption of innovative canid control technologies: a review

Wild dogs (Canis familiaris) and foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are considered major pests in Australia. To reduce the impact of these pests, a variety of control techniques are available to private and public land managers. Despite the availability of these techniques, many land managers do not participate in canid control because of concerns over non-target risks, humaneness, and cost and effectiveness. There is a need for new canid control technologies that pose fewer risks to non-target animals or other assets, cause minimal contamination of soil, crops and waterways, and are perceived as humane by those who use them and the public at large.

A number of agencies led by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA CRC) are assessing para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) as a new chemical for canid control. PAPP and its associated antidote, BlueHealer®, are not yet available for commercial use in Australia but in a number of environments should pose fewer risks to non-target species, especially pet dogs, while being a highly effective chemical active for wild canid control. These desirable attributes should translate into the uptake of this pest control innovation. This paper reviews a selection of innovation diffusion models to better understand the probable drivers and barriers to end users adopting innovative pest control strategies in general and more specifically PAPP products as best practice integrated wild dog management.

There is a growing body of literature in natural resource management examining how the diffusion of innovations can be influenced and how community engagement programs may benefit the adoption of new technologies. The literature suggests that a participatory approach to stakeholder engagement and extension improves rates of adoption. Extension programs should target syndicates or workshops, through champions or trusted intermediaries. The effectiveness, specificity and humaneness of PAPP should be communicated and demonstrated in a transparent, repeatable and easily understood manner. The antidote to PAPP, BlueHealer®, is likely to be the most attractive benefit of the product because of strong concerns over accidental poisoning of farm and working dogs when using existing poisons.

Uptake of PAPP products is complicated by the beliefs, values and perceptions towards both canid management and existing control technologies. The drivers and barriers that influence both participation in, and choice of canid control techniques, are poorly understood. A community survey structured across different stakeholder groups and across geographic space would help quantify key perceptions towards canid management. Adoption of PAPP products may be benefited by focusing research and extension programs on key features of PAPP and on products containing this new chemical active that are poorly or misunderstood by the suite of potential adopters.

Author Southwell D, McCowen S, Mewett O and Hennecke B
Year 2011
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Pages 35 pp
Control method Poison / Toxin
Region Australia - national

Understanding the drivers and barriers towards the adoption of innovative canid control technologies: a review