Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Dingoes in the Grampians – response from the Australian Dingo Foundation

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Melinda Browning, on behalf of the Australian Dingo Foundation

In response to: The Danger of Dingoes in the Grampians, Beverley McArthur MP, Media Release, 27 April 2021

Australian Dingo Foundation logo

This response is to correct some of the false statements made by Mrs McArthur in the above-mentioned article, in particular those made regarding the Australian Dingo Foundation (ADF), as follows:

It is argued that only one percent of dingo DNA is required to claim ‘dingo status’ – effectively rendering ‘dingo protection’ to nearly every wild dog in the state.

“Even the ADF’s own work shows only 1.5 per cent of the state’s wild dogs are feral, meaning 98.5 are dingoes, that is dingoes with one percent dingo DNA.

Mrs McArthur has been misinformed. The correct interpretation of the research is as follows:

Out of a sample size of 623 wild canids killed in Victoria as a result of ‘Wild Dog’ (Dingo) Control activities 98.5% proved to be either pure dingoes or have greater than 50% dingo ancestry. Conversely, just 1.5% proved to be domestic dogs with less than 50% dingo ancestry, refer to Appendix 1. This DNA research is over a decade old and relied on just 23 DNA markers to estimate the percentage of domestic dog ancestry within wild populations of Dingoes. Initial data from emerging scientific research using 300,000 DNA markers is indicating that the prevalence of pure Dingoes is much higher than these previously estimates, refer to Appendix 2.

Appendix 1: Victorian Dingo Ancestry to 23 DNA Markers

Victorian Dingo Ancestry diagram

Appendix 2: Emerging Victorian Dingo Ancestry to 300,000 DNA Markers

Emerging Victorian dingo ancestry diagram

In response to other opinions expressed in the article, it is the ADF’s position based on facts, peer reviewed science and available data that:

  • Dingoes are a spiritually significant species to local indigenous mobs
  • Current control measures to suppress foxes within the Grampians is not working but has resulted in:
    o Increasing numbers of feral cats
    o No significant decline in fox numbers
    o No significant bounce back of threatened species
  • Dingoes would not deter visitors to the Grampians, given in excess of 450,000 visitors / year to Fraser Island
  • Dingo attacks on Fraser Island are due to poor behaviour on the part of tourists by feeding them and trying to interact with them. Dingoes are naturally wary and timid and attacks by Dingoes on humans is extremely insignificant compared to attacks on people by domestic dogs.
  • Dingoes digestive systems cannot digest fatty lamb and attacks on sheep by Dingoes is miniscule compared to lamb deaths from exposure and other causes. Their preferred prey being lean meat such as kangaroo.
  • Dingoes are Australia’s native apex land predator, they perform a critical role in the providing ecosystem balance and stability. They do not hunt to extinction but regulate prey populations by picking off the old, the weak, the injured and the sick.

Melinda Browning
On behalf of the
Australian Dingo Foundation

Related stories: The danger of dingoes in the Grampians; Wild dog or dingoes? Study says they are dingoes; Dingo management update; Where wild dogs roam

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