The dilemma of the disappearing dingo


Where'd the Australian dingo go? The feared predator (Canis lupus dingo) is quickly disappearing, as it breeds and hybridizes with domesticated dogs. And with the loss of the pure-bred dingo comes the greater chance of environmental destruction by invasive species like foxes and feral cats.

Now the Australian state of Victoria is trying to protect the dingo. Eighty percent of the dingoes there are actually hybrids, and pure dingoes exist in only two remote, mountainous areas. The Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment has declared the dingo a threatened species and will come up with an action plan to save them. According to a report in The Herald Sun, this could include "strategies to control wild dog populations."

Of course, all of this needs to be balanced against the needs of farmers, who see the dingo as a pest and a threat to livestock. But wild cats, foxes and dogs are an even worse threat to native Australian species, so the dingo remains an essential piece of the country's ecosystem.

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Comments

As a member of Dingo CARE Network Inc, the organisation responsible for writing the nomination that led to the listing of the dingo as a threatened species in the state of Victoria, let me how how wonderful it is to see this reported here.

I have owned dingoes as pets for nearly 40 years, and to have this listing has been truely wonderful. We now want to work with all stakeholders to produce the best outcomes for both the economy (farmers) and the ecology (dingoes).

Only yesterday I was talking to a sheep farmer from NE Victoria, who has a pet dingo that follows him around his farm as he checks his sheep. When asked if he had a problem with foxes, he said, "Not really", so I explained that his dingo was making his territory, and that kept the foxes out, as they are scared of dingoes.

Seems he had never made the connection before.

I also have a friend with a sheep stud and a dingo colony. She walks her dingoes around the perimiter of her property on a regular basis and has no problems with foxes at lambing time, or any other time.

I am sure that we can work out a sustainable solution for both ecologists and the farmer.

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