The Australian dingo is a unique
family-orientated predator that has lived on this
continent for thousands of years and evolved alongside
native prey species to establish efficient and well
Our dingo is the only remaining
large predator in Australia capable of keeping our
wildlife healthy by keeping prey and pest species in
check. Unfortunately, like our Tasmanian tiger in our
shameful past, he is being vilified and killed off by
powerful rural and hunting lobbies that clasp an
abundance of ignorance, cruelty and greed.
Paying the ultimate price of
insufficient action by the government to protect our
wildlife, the Tasmanian tiger is now forever gone. Our
dingo is currently the only native animal to be
classified as "vermin", and is being regularily baited
with the aerially dropped super-toxin 1080. In Victoria,
there is even a $50 bounty in place on their scalps.
If we do not pressure
our government to take immediate action to protect our
dingo, he will join the Tasmanian tiger as an extinct
animal our future generations will only be able to
marvel at in old photographs.
As part of their campaign to
exterminate our dingo, rural lobbies spread myths to
mislead the public about the real nature of the animals.
This makes efforts to drive dingoes to extinction easier
by eliminating resistance. The following are some of the
most common myths perpetuated, along with descriptions
of what represents reality:
native wildlife and ruin ecosystems."
studies of ecosystem conditions on either side of the
dingo fence contradict this claim. On the side where
dingoes are absent, kangaroos, wallabies, foxes and cats
are overpopulating and destroying vegetation and
endangered small marsupials. On the "useless" side where
dingoes are present, kangaroo and wallaby populations
remain healthy and balanced, allowing vegetation to
regenerate; Foxes and cats are also suppressed as a
result of predation by dingoes, allowing small
marsupials to thrive.
Our dingo is beyond
doubt Australia's keystone predator: The species which
preys on the weak and sick of the most adundant prey
species, keeping herbivore species from overpopulating
and outcompeting one another. Dingoes have been doing
this job successfully for thousands of years. With this
in mind, it is absurd to suggest that they would
suddenly pose a threat to wildlife."
"Dingoes are utterly
devastating our sheep industry."
Reality: The reported
annual losses of sheep to wild dogs in Victoria and New
South Wales are at only around 3600 and 1200. Given that
Victoria and New South Wales house upwards of 20,000,000
and 35,200,000 sheep, these losses could barely even be
represented by a crumb on a pie chart or a percentage of
just 0.02%. Vastly more sheep are lost per month during
live export trips.
Livestock losses to
wild dogs cost nowhere near as much as the continual
baiting of our dingoes with the super-toxin 1080, and
show that there really is no "wild dog problem" in
Australia that can't be solved by compensating farmers
for losses and/or making them practice more sensible
husbandry using protective mesaures such as flock
guardians and exclusion fencing.
"Dingoes are not
native, and have been proven to be just introduced feral
domestic dogs from Asia. Therefore they are pests that
need to be exterminated."
studies on geological records and samples of dingo
mitochondrial DNA have shown that our dingo has been
present on the Australian continent for at least 3,500
years, probably up to about 12,000 years. This is a very
long time in the context of evolution and has been
sufficient for the dingo to evolve and adapt to the
Australian environment. By any official definition, the
dingo is "native".
How the ancestor of
dingoes, shown to be the pale-footed Indian wolf (Canis
lupus pallipes or Canis indica) by skull morphology
studies, arrived in Australia is unknown, can only be
speculated about and does not change the fact that
dingoes are essential components of Australian ecoystems
that must be protected if we wish to preserve our
still retain most characteristics present in Indian
wolves, it is also highly unlikely that they were
subjected to any significant form of domestication that
would warrant labelling them as "feral". Dingoes truly
are Australia's own form of wolf.
"Dingoes are vicious
killers that attack humans unprovoked."
Reality: You can count
the number of fatal attacks of dingoes on humans in our
entire recorded history on just half a hand. Compare
this to about 15,000 domestic dog attacks per
Dingoes, like wolves
in other parts of the world, have an inherent fear and
distrust of humans. They generally avoid confrontations
with people and flee at the slightest hint of trouble.
This is considered by some scientists to be the result
of wide-scale persecution of wolves by humans that began
with the dawn of agriculture.
The only incidents
of "attacks" on humans by dingoes are recorded in areas
where they are habituated to humans by irresponsible
people, such as on Fraser Island. In those incidents the
dingoes have lost much of their fear of humans as a
result of feeding, and behaved more boldly when feeling
threatened. There are also incidents of habituated
juvenile dingoes attempting to play with people, which
are misinterpreted as attacks.
"Pure dingoes are
largely extinct, so there is nothing left worth
Reality: Studies of
wild dogs caught in Victoria have supported the notion
that the act of mating between wild dingoes and domestic
dogs, and consequent successful rearing of the
offspring, is actually a very rare occurance due to the
harshness of life in the wild and radical behavioural
and biological differences.
Because of this,
most hybrids caught only contain a few domestic dog
genes and perform the same crucial ecological role that
pure dingoes do. Hybridization with domestic dogs is a
process that has occurred for wild canine species
throughout the world for thousands of years without
hampering their survival.
Please have the courage to defend
Australia's endangered native wolf before it is too
Please contact the federal and state
ministers for the environment and demand that our dingo
be removed from the vermin list and classed as a
protected native species instead.
|Gavin Jennings -
Victorian Minister of Environment
22, 50 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3002
Phone: (03) 9096
Fax: (03) 9096
- Federal Minister of Environment|
Address: PO Box
1840, Bondi Junction NSW 1355
Phone: (02) 9369
Fax: (02) 9369
2007 Dimitrije Nikic. Permission is granted to copy and
distribute the above text
only in the unmodified form of the leaflet found at the
URL http://www.dingofoundation.org.au/leaflet or in formatted HTML form under the
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