PARK WATCH Article September 2023 |

Australian Dingo Foundation Director, Melinda Browning, calls for an end to killings Dingoes on public land

Dingoes (Canis dingo) are currently being killed to the point of endangerment in Victoria.

Despite the fact that Dingoes are listed as Threatened, they are relentlessly killed across their remaining range on both private land and in 3km buffer zones on public land. On public land they are unprotected under an Order In Council and legislated as ‘wild dogs’ and ’pests’.

Dingoes slaughtered under the guise of ‘wild dog’ control

The killing of Dingoes on public lands is undertaken by DEECA Wild Dog Controllers in the form of 1080 poison ground and aerial baiting, trapping and shooting. Recreational hunters are paid $120 bounty for a ‘wild dog’ scalp.

In the past decade, more Dingoes have been destroyed in Victoria as ‘wild dogs’ for the bounty alone than reported livestock losses to predation (being a relatively small 200 to 500 a year).

These killings occur are despite the fact Dingoes are culturally and spiritually significant for First Nations and provide ecosystem stability and resilience as native apex land predators.

Contrary to the claim of Dingoes as wild dogs, recent research proves that remnant Dingo populations are overwhelming pure with little to no domestic dog ancestry.

This highlights the question as to why the wholesale, taxpayer-funded killing of Dingoes continues on public lands.

Champions of biodiversity

Native wildlife has survived and thrived for thousands of years under the protection of Dingoes, shaped by nature to fulfil the critical role of apex predators. Dingoes pick off old, sick and genetically weak individuals, slowing the spread of disease and ensuring healthy populations of their prey.

Dingoes prey on both introduced and native herbivores, regulating the numbers of kangaroos, rabbits, deer, feral pigs and goats, resulting in improved vegetation cover and soil health. They also keep foxes and feral cats in check, which in turn gives life to many small-to-medium mammals, marsupials, native birds and other creatures.

DNA reveals Dingo truth

The truth about the purity of Victorian Dingoes has been revealed in a ground-breaking study by UNSW Conservation Geneticist, Dr Kylie Cairns.

Cairns found that previous DNA testing grossly misrepresented the amount of dog ancestry in Dingo populations, with a startling 87 per cent of supposed ‘wild dogs’ in Victoria testing as pure Dingoes.

The study also found the Dingoes form their own genetic cluster. Four geographically distinct populations of Dingoes were discovered: West, East, South, and Big Desert.

Wilkerr (Big Desert) Dingoes at serious risk of extinction

Dingo DNA samples from the small, geographically isolated remnant Big Desert population in the Victorian Mallee region, showed zero domestic dog ancestry and demonstrated the highest level of inbreeding.

Wilkerr is the Dja Dja Warrung and Wotjobaluk Nations word for a Dingo. This population is a totem species for the Wotjobaluk Nations and ongoing lethal control is putting them at serious risk of extinction

With the Order In Council due for review on 1 October 2023, the Australian Dingo Foundation is calling on Dingo-lovers to contact their local MPs to request the removal of the 3km buffer zone so Dingoes are fully protected on public lands. Government funds currently spent on lethal control could be used to support farmers in non-lethal livestock protection, with lethal control on private land reserved as a last resort.

Read the letter to state ministers signed by 25 academic experts, including Dr Kylie Cairns:

Sign the Humane Society International letter to state ministers asking to restore the protection of Dingoes