Love them or hate them- Dingoes have been part of Australian Wildlife for at least 4000 years. But ever since the first Europeans arrived in Australia, Dingoes have constantly caused headaches for farmers. Whilst they were not considered pets to Indigenous Australians they still had a very close relationship, hunting and sleeping together, but not relying upon each other for survival. The Dingoe is therefore highly valued and culturally important to Aboriginals, but also they are recognised as an iconic Australian animal.
They have in the past attracted an uneviable reputation. Who could forget the sensational story of Lindy Chamberlain who was wrongly convicted of murder after claiming ‘a dingo took my baby”. However, generally speaking, Dingoes pose a considerable threat to livestock, not to humans- and it is for this reason that Australians have long been in conflict with each other over the proper management of their numbers.
There is a widespread belief dingoes are as good as extinct in New South Wales and nearly all dog-like animals in the wild are simply wild dogs
Many states disgaree on how to manage dingoes. In Victoria, The Dingo is listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as a result is protected (threatened wildlife) under the Wildlife Act 1975. However, in NSW all wild dogs are classified as pest animals, and unfortunately for the Dingoes they have been defined as ‘wild dogs’. Under the the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 all landholders have a duty to control wild dogs to minimise the risk of negative impacts on neighbouring land. Farmers are therefore not only within their legal rights to kill dingoes, but have a positive obligation to do all they can to remove as many of them as possible.
Enter the conservationists – who claim that the removal of a top apex predator like the dingoe affects the entire health of the ecosystem—its biodiversity, its productivity, the condition of it’s soil, the rivers, the endangered species—are all tightly linked up with the dingo.
It is also argued that Dingoes can benefit farmers because they reduce numbers of native and feral herbivores like kangaroos, feral goats, rabbits and pigs, boosting pasture growth for livestock.
Show Radio’s Bertie Fagan talked about the issue last week and reveals the major player’s and their positions. You can listen to that talkbreak below: