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Will we hunt dingoes to the brink like the Tasmanian tiger?

The last Tasmanian tiger died a lonely death in the Hobart Zoo in 1936, just 59 days after new state laws aimed at protecting it from extinction were passed in parliament. But the warning bells about its…

A dead dingo in 2013 (left) and a Tasmanian tiger, last seen in the wild in 1932. Dingo photography by Aaron Greenville; a hunted thylacine in 1869, photographer unknown.

The last Tasmanian tiger died a lonely death in the Hobart Zoo in 1936, just 59 days after new state laws aimed at protecting it from extinction were passed in parliament.

But the warning bells about its likely demise had been pealing for several decades before that protection came too late - and today we’re making many of the same deadly mistakes, only now it’s with dingoes.

Earlier this month the Queensland government announced it would make it easier for farmers to put out poison baits for “wild dogs”. In Victoria, similar measures have already been taken.

Lethal methods of control have lethal consequences. It is time to rethink our approach in how we manage our wild predators.

A deadly history lesson

Commonly known as Tasmanian tigers because of their striped backs, thylacines were hunted due to the species alleged damage they were doing to the sheep industry in the state. However, the thylacine’s actual impact on the industry was likely to have been small.

Instead, the species was made a scapegoat for poor management and the harshness of the Tasmanian environment, as early Europeans struggled implementing foreign farming practises to the new world.

The tiger [thylacine]… received a very bad character in the Assembly yesterday; in fact, there appeared not to be one redeeming point in this animal. It was described as cowardly, as stealing down on the sheep in the night and want only killing many more than it could eat… All sheep owners in the House agreed that “something should be done,” as it was asserted that the tigers have largely increased of late years. - The Mercury, October 1886.

Grainy footage is all we have left of the thylacine.

More than a century later, and it’s now the dingo in the firing line.

Since 1990, the number of sheep shorn in Queensland has crashed 92 per cent, from over 21 million to less than 2 million. Although there have been rises and falls in the wool price and droughts have come and gone, it’s the dingoes that have been the last straw. - ABC Radio National, May 2013

An ancient predator vs modern farmers

Producing sheep is an incredibly tough business, with droughts, international competition and volatile markets for wool and meat – mostly factors that are well beyond the control of an individual farmer.

Dingoes are seen as one of the few threats to livelihood that producers can fight back against. As a result, the dingo has experienced a severe range contraction since European settlement and there is mounting pressure to remove the dingo from the wild, despite dingoes calling Australia home for 4000 years.

Dingoes are now rare or absent across half of Australia due to intense control measures. While they are more common in other areas, we have seen how species populations can collapse quickly. For example, bounty records from Tasmania showed the thylacine population suddenly crashed in 1904-1910 due to hunting pressure from humans.

Will the dingo’s demise be like that of the thylacine? We simply do not know, but the social conditions and a rapidly changing environment mirror the story of the thylacine.

It’s true that dingoes have an impact on livestock. Estimates from industry-funded reports range from A$40 million to A$60 million, which include damage to livestock and cost of control measures.

And the emotional cost to farmers should not be underestimated. As authors, one of us has sheep farmers in the family, and knows the pride people gain from having a happy and healthy flock.

The choice is whether we want to follow the old colonial attitude of trying to conquer our environment, or find new and cheaper methods to live with our environment.

Dingoes and wild dogs

The issue of how to manage one of the few remaining mammalian top predators in Australia is further complicated by the suggestion that dingoes are not distinct from “wild dogs” due to interbreeding.

In eastern Australia dingo purity is low, but it is still high in many regions, such as central Australia.

But whether you call them dingoes or wild dogs, these predators work as unpaid pest species manager that works around the clock, effectively controlling feral cat and red fox numbers.

Even in eastern Australia, there is evidence that dingoes are fulfilling this role by reducing fox numbers.

Dingoes can also control kangaroo numbers, reducing grazing pressure. Reducing pests and grazing pressure are a win for farmers and conservation alike.

Learning to live with dingoes

As CSIRO researchers suggested a decade ago, we need to get better at dealing with genetically ambiguous animals, such as those that could be classified as dingoes or wild dogs. Instead, they argued that better approach to conservation decisions would involve protecting animals based on their role in the environment, as well as their cultural value.

Traditionally, barrier fences and lethal control (such as poisoning) have been used as methods to reduce livestock losses from dingoes.

However, the costs of removing the dingo as our free pest species manager, and the impact of fences as barriers to other wildlife, need to be taken into account when assessing the true cost of maintaining these approaches.

Alternatives to lethal control do exist. Guardian dogs can protect stock from dog attack and have a return on investment between one to three years. Such cost-effective strategies can allow both the dingo and grazing to co-exist.

Over thousands of years, dingoes have played a functional role in the Australian landscape and can provide benefits for farmers, traditional Indigenous owners and to the conservation of native wildlife.

It is time to learn how to live with the dingo. If not, we risk eventually driving dingoes out of the wild and into lonely zoo enclosures, just like the thylacine.

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107 Comments sorted by

  1. Geoff Russell

    Computer Programmer, Author

    Excellent article with just one exception. Not only are sheep an unnecessary imposition on the Australian landscape, they produce prodigious amounts of methane and the meat is a potent cause of bowel cancer (according to the equivalent of the IPCC in such matters, the World Cancer Research Fund). Lastly, has anyone ever heard of feral sheep? Why not? Because they are quite unsuited to life in Australia. Without human assistance they perish. As it is, their suffering due to a very high infant mortality in most areas is extreme. Cold usually kills more than heat with inopportune lambing and a lack of shelter from the elements killing many. And then there's those that die after being shorn just before a cold windy rainstorm. If you think producing sheep is tough on farmers, try being a sheep for a while. Dingoes have a role in Australia, sheep don't.

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  2. Anneliese Ford

    Senior Consultant

    I would concur with this article. Having recently travelled around Australia on a long family holiday, we observed that dingoes were very scarce and usually emaciated. Their plight seemed worst on Fraser Island, where they used to have a positive relationship with humans eg as hunting dogs for Aboriginal people then as companions for loggers and miners. Now that they can no longer be fed by the vast numbers of humans who overrun the island, they are on the point of starvation and consequently, are more aggressive and prone to attack. Many have been shot by rangers and the few who survive have a precarious existence. What future for these animals?

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    1. Christopher Johnson

      Professor of Wildlife Conservation and ARC Australian Professorial Fellow at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Anneliese Ford

      Anneleise

      It's good to hear those thoughtful comments about Fraser Island dingoes, but I think great care is needed in interpreting what's going on with dingoes there, and relating that to the plight of dingoes elsewhere.

      Dingoes in the wild are often thin, and compared to the average owned dog they can look emaciated. But those thin-looking animals are usually doing OK. That's the case on FI, where the population as a whole is healthy enough to produce plenty of pups and sustain itself…

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    2. Dingo Simon

      Owner, Durong Dingo Sanctuary Qld

      In reply to Christopher Johnson

      I have just been back to Fraser island twice in the past 8 weeks. The last time was taking Dr. Howard Ralph ( Vet and Surgeon) over there to look into setting up a Animal Care Clinic on the behalf of Save Fraser Island Dingo Inc.
      Regarding the FI dingo, it has co existed with the Butchulla people for over 4000 years and in all that time it was fed by them and in the last 150 years or so it was also fed by white people.
      When the Island was under the management of the Dept of Forestry they put signs…

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  3. Henry Verberne

    Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

    Just a question: I wonder how many attacks attributed to dingos are in reality the acts of wild dogs? I have personal experience in my youth with so called pet dogs (often in a pack) attacking sheep.

    I do not dispute that dingos do attack sheep though. BTW, I understand that there are not too many pure dingos left due to interbreeding with dogs.

    Hopefully someone can enlighten me.

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  4. John Rodger
    John Rodger is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Director Wildlife Biodiversity CRC Bid

    Excellent coverage of the issue of wildlife human conflicts, real and perceived. If much of our wildlife is to have a future we need widely supported solutions that don't polarize or demonize the protagonists and proponents. But as the article argues, out of date thinking and policies that hang over from early last century are not the way forward. They will ultimately not significantly benefit anyone and will drive many species to extinction. When we lose species we lose with them the vital but currently under valued free services they provide that keep the ecosystems healthy upon which we depend.

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  5. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    I would like to add my thanks to the others for this article.

    We need to get smarter about how we manage our ecosystems, and top level predators are extremely important in so many areas. Rather than hunting the dingo, we should be reintroducing them to more of their former range to manage over-grazing by herbivores and to reduce the impacts of mesopredators.

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  6. nik dow

    logged in via Twitter

    The dingo is a domestic dog gone feral that was introduced by humans. If this were to occur today we would be trying to eradicate them as a dangerous pest, as we in fact do with "wild dogs". From what I've heard here in Victoria, the effort that goes in to hunting wild dogs is out of proportion to any benefit.

    But we have changed so much of the natural order in this continent that it's pointless using pre 1778 conditions as any sort of benchmark. We have to manage what is here now. If dingoes are indeed controlling foxes and cats, and thereby helping to take pressure off native animals, all to the good. Doesn't that mean though, that to maintain a viable dingo population means we also have to retain enough foxes and cats? In other words, aren't dingoes relying on predation on natives for their survival, just one step further up the food chain?

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    1. James Hammond

      Ecologist

      In reply to nik dow

      Nik, as far as I understand the mechanism, Dingoes control foxes and cats due to territorial behaviour. There is some evidence that they sometimes eat the body of a fox or cat when they kill it, but they are not the Dingoes primary food source.

      The Dingoes primary food source is larger herbivores such as kangaroos and wallabies. Although Dingoes would certainly also eat some of the smaller critical weight range natives that the foxes and cats do, they are able to kill the larger class of animal and will get the most enegetic pay back from doing so.

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dingo Simon

      Thanks for that paper Dingo - I had only read the previous view which suggested they arrrived around 4 - 5,000 years ago. This - assuming it is confirmed - adds a whole new dimension to the issue. I would like to see how this information stackes up against the decline of the thylacine and some of the megafauna, and whether or not the dingo played a role in their decline and extinction.

      In either case, the dingo really is the only large terrestrial mammalian predator remaing in Australia, and it therefore plays an important role in herbivore regulation. And given the lack of 'pure bred' dingoes remaining as well, I have to wonder whether we might just be better off allowing wild dogs to take their place. I am sure such a view would be controversial, but I would love to see some research on such a proposal.

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    3. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the origins of dingoes and the likely time of their introduction to Australia. It is commonly thought that dogs first started being domesticated from wolves in East Asia ~15,000 years ago. However, hot-off-the-press research (Thalmann et al., 2013, Science, v342, pp.871-874) suggests that it might actually have occurred not in Asia but in Europe ~18,000-32,000 years ago. This is not when dingoes were introduced to Australia, but when the first dogs…

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    4. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      Hi Ben

      Thanks for that. You may not remember me, but I spent 3 days out in the wilds of Quinyambie Station looking at dingo tracks with you three years ago as part of my studies through UQ and you were with the SA NRM. I enjoyed it tremendously, and would love to get more involved in dingo research.

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    5. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Hi Mike - I remember. Feeding hopping-mice by hand at night and watching dingoes lounge around during the day. I also recall you taught me some lessons about navigation using the stars. I've since forgotten those lessons and am in need to re-learn them!

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  7. Geoff Russell

    Computer Programmer, Author

    If people want (a lot) more information on this issue, can I recommend Chris Johnson's book "Australia's Mammal Extinctions" it changed more than a few of my long held views.

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  8. Benjamin Allen

    Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

    A great thought-provoking article - well done. However, the answer to the question posed in the title is simply 'No, not in any universe are guns or poisons a major threat to Australia's dingo population'. The reason for this can only be understood when some clear distinctions are made between 'pure dingoes', 'hybrid dingoes', and the all-encompassing 'wild dogs'.

    Pure dingoes
    Pure dingoes are in decline (although there are still probably tens of thousands of them out there). Few, if any at…

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    1. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      Ben, you avoid the key point of the discussion, which to find ways of working with the natural environment, rather than persisting with a 19th Century mindset of conducting a war against nature, whenever the environment presents some impediment of land productivity.

      You also avoid engaging with another key theme, which is that even the dingo hybrids may be providing an improtant ecological service. Instead you simply reiterate the mantra of the pastoral industry that, when it comes to dingoes…

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    2. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      I'm curious about why Earnest, or anybody else, thinks that whether or not the dingo is native has any relevance in the discussion? I'd be pretty sure that if it was native thylacines killing non-native sheep, farmers would be just as keen on getting rid of them.

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    3. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Geoff,

      The relevance of whether the dingo is considered native or not relates to the justifications fabricated by the pastoral industry and government authorities for killing it on an industrial scale.

      It has been a tactic of the pastoral industry to deny the native status of the dingo, to avoid public opposition to control regimes.
      The wholesale killing of a native animal to protect land productivity is much more contentious than the killing of an animal widely considered to be simply an exotic pest.

      There is also an important legal distinction between invasive pests and wildlife. Under most circumstances, wildlife is protected.

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    4. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      We might argue about the definition of "most" but kangaroos, wallabies and ducks certainly aren't protected despite being unquestionably native. I'd prefer legal distinctions to be built on something other than DNA. Gene A good, gene B bad. It's a silly idea with people and its a silly idea with other animals.

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    5. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Ernest,

      I dont think it matters whether they're native or not, or hybrid or not. Both sides use these points in attempts to justify their own arguments, but these points do not influence their practical management in most situations.

      For example, we dont see attempts to identify and kill the hybrids on Fraser Island, and I doubt many people would support such an approach if it was proposed. Why? Because most people understand that it is their roles or function that is more important. It is…

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    6. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      The issue of purity is still more important than you wish to admit Ben.
      You claim that genetics and origin are not a concern regarding conservation of the dingo - that it is what they do and where they do it that matters. This is simplistic. It is not only ecological function that is improtant in this debate, although it remains significant as I will elaborate in a moment.

      The dingoe's status as wildlife matters. In Victoria, those that are deemed pure have the status of wildlife under the Wildlife…

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    7. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest,

      You need to be careful not to misunderstand what I actually wrote, and not to conflate issues that were not intended to be considered together.

      I don't think genetics or origin have much to do with their on-ground, practical management in most places. Although beautiful, Victoria is the size of a postage stamp with respect to the rest of the country. What happens there might not be very relevant to everywhere else, and vice versa. I did not "claim that genetics and origin are not a…

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    8. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      Ben is absolutely right when says that the DNA has no bearing on the dingo's performance.

      For Ernest's information, the beef industry considered the dingo to be an asset in drought time for culling calves of cows too weak to protect them which led to the mother's survival where otherwise the both probably would have died.

      How ironic.

      Other than false assumptions and computer modelling, this is the only evidence based justification I have ever found for their existence in this country.

      Compared to this lonely plus, the destruction and devastation they wreak [for instance, when you see the wiping-out of the last remaining colony of red legged pademelons in a wild night of pleasure-killing] there are so many evidence-based negatives that it is mind boggling that there are not more scientists like Ben, looking at the real world of the "dingo."

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    9. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      Ben, I think that you too need to take care with how mislead with sweeping statements, I refer to your reference to Victoria as the size of a postage stamp in relation to the rest of the country, therefore what happens here may not be relevant to the rest of the country.

      Your second paragraph is a ‘nonsense’. To suggest that you did not say dingoes ‘were neither friend nor foe’ but were ‘both’ is a ‘gobbledy gook’ argument as simply by mutual exclusion one can argue that they are both so why…

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    10. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      "You suggest that dingoes threaten other native taxon which is nothing short of mischievous, as there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that where dingoes exist there are more CWM than where dingoes have been removed."

      Julie, this is an incredibly rash statement. Have you ever monitored, say, a national park or other significant ecosystem where dingoes predate, for a number of years?

      For the record, I have no financial interest in the grazing industry and my property is the whole…

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    11. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Hi Jim I am surprized you would justify your assertion that my statement arguing that there are more Critical Weight Mammals present where dingoes exist on your untrained observations alone. My statement is based on the peer reviewed scientific literature published over the last 30 years and attendance of lectures given by experts in the field. Just seeing Dr Mike Letnic’s photos of either side of the dingo fence demonstrates the differences the dingo can and does make. On the unbaited side of the dingo fence the ecosystem is rich and diverse while on the unbaited side of the fence there is a bare and sterile environment where dingoes are baited shot and trapped.

      Your ignorance is also illustrated by your lack of understanding of the abbreviation CWM, and the diet of the FI dingo. For example did you know that dingoes on FI frequently survive on dead dugongs washed up on the beach?

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    12. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      So many acronyms so little time.

      But my reply still applies.

      Sorry about my ignorance and not being educated enough for you Julie but if you rely on someone's selected photograph of either side of a dingo fence to judge the biodiversity compared with a lifetime of on the spot observations that is not science.

      I am very aware of what a dingo eats. As a kid I have earnt a years wages in a morning by digging hundreds of dingo pups out of sand hill burrows to stop them wiping out the bilby.

      But what you say about dugong and any other marine carrion only illustrates my point.

      The are absolute scavengers and will eat anything [even sand] to survive.

      Not long ago on FI I watched two dingoes fighting over a bag of fisherman's burley. The bag was left unattended for a minute as they fought and a sea eagle swooped, hooked it in his talon, took it into the nearest tree and systematically ate the lot.

      It's a dog-eat-dog world on FI.

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    13. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Julie,

      Without knowing it, you've just illustrated the exact reason why the "peer reviewed scientific literature published over the last 30 years" does NOT demonstrate the things you (and others) claim about dingoes roles.

      Simple comparisons between one area and another (e.g. like your cross-fence comparisons or Jim's observations of depleted wildlife in National Parks) can, at best, identify differences between the two areas, but they cannot demonstrate the cause of those differences…

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    14. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Yes Jim, you pretend to be educated while your comment demonstrates a lack of education as it seems you have not read the literature pertaining to dingo diet, which shows they prefer large macropods, not bilbies as you claim. Lets face it, the bilby and dingo have co existed for thousands of years. Just because you were digging dingo pups out of burrows does not provide evidence that dingoes eat bilbies. To provide evidence that dingoes eat bilbies scientists collect and examine dingo scats, and rarely do they contain evidence of bilbies. Check the literature! That was educated people do!

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    15. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      "Lets face it, the bilby and dingo have co existed for thousands of years."

      Do you have any evidence for that, Julie.

      You might be surprised to learn that far south west Qld and surrounding areas in SA and NSW [where the bilbies live] had never seen a dingo until just prior to WW2.

      All the early white settlers there [mainly brought there by the Duracks and the Costellos] ran sheep. All the fences were 6-plain-wire sheep fences.

      Cordillo Downs, that occupies all the country in the NE…

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    16. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      "it seems you have not read the literature pertaining to dingo diet, which shows they prefer large macropods, not bilbies as you claim."

      Where did I ever say they don't eat macropods?

      Walking around the bush as I do on a daily basis I have had a large wallaby dash out of the scrub with a dingo on its back begging me to save it. Which I did by kicking the dingo off its back.

      Camped beside a dam I have seen a kangaroo leap into the dam with a dingo on its back to try and drown the dingo or at least improve its chances of escape. It was a smart move because the dingo had to let go or drown and the 'roo stayed in the dam for hours, too terrified and in shock to leave.

      As I have already said a pack of them wiped out our whole colony of rare red legged pademelons [Thylogale stigmatica] in a pleasure kill.

      Didn't eat any.

      The same with 15 whiptail wallabies [Macropus parryi].

      I'm quite aware of what they do to macropods.

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  9. Jim Inglis

    retired

    The DNA of the Dingo is the same as the Pariah Dog of Asia which came here courtesy of Asian fishermen three and a half thousand years ago.

    In evolutionary terms this is a blink of an eye and our natives never evolved alongside it [unlike the Thylacine] and cannot survive alongside it.

    The Dingo is as feral as the cane toad [maybe more so as there could be more generations of cane toads here than dingoes].

    As an indication of its Johnny-come-lateliness the Dingo didn't even occupy the whole of the country until well after white settlement but thrives in national parks where it is [mistakenly] protected, which also protects other equally serious feral predators.

    This is leading to the extinction of many of our truly magnificent natives in their rightful habitat.

    You've only got to visit Fraser Island to witness this travesty.

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  10. Jim Inglis

    retired

    If only the Dingo would go extinct!

    What a great reprieve for Australia's true native ground dwelling wildlife!

    Because of the Dingo's protected status in national parks, reserves etc, our Koalas, Echidnas, Bandicoots, Bettongs, Wallabies and other ground dwellers are going extinct instead.

    While the Dingo may not be the main killer in all cases, because it can't be put at risk, other predators such as dogs and foxes get off scott-free and can't be controlled in those areas of greatest bio-diversity.

    Because of this our national parks will soon become a sick joke [if they aren't already].

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    1. Dingo Simon

      Owner, Durong Dingo Sanctuary Qld

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, I am staggered by your comment.
      The dingo has co existed quite well with ALL our native wildlife for over 28,000 years.
      The bulk of their diet was macropods, but now due to white man's ( Govts ) foolish management they can also choose from rabbits, foxes, pigs , goats, also dead camels, horses, sheep, cattle etc
      They are the scavengers of the bush.
      The wildlife you ,mentioned above are dying basically because they habitat is being destroyed, it has nothing to do with the dingo.

      Please read this and become enlightened, thank you.

      http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/09/06/rspb.2011.1395.full?sid=670143aa-c71e-4e23-ab04-061126424828

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    2. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Dingo Simon

      Yes Simon, I've read that.

      It's one opinion but the archaeological evidence doesn't agree.

      I've been visiting Fraser Is. for the last 40 years and prior to it becoming a national park there was great biodiversity there but as the mining, timber, farming etc industries were expelled and it became 90-odd% national park the dingo numbers increased and the wildlife began disappearing at a great rate.

      I know because during the '70s I loaded a lot of half-drowned wildlife into my dinghy that were…

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      I would suggest that you should wake up yourself Jim.

      Top order predators such as the dingo play an important role in ecosystem health. Without them there are all sorts of unintended consequences when predatory regulation is removed from large and small herbivores. They also play a vital role in controlling mesopredators such as cats and foxes - although this is more controversial and requires further research. And it is these mesopredators which are a much greater threat to our ground dwelling wildlife - which evolved together with the dingo and thus the populations exist in a form of regulatory balance (which changes due to changing circumstances).

      Read up on the case of wolves in Yellowstone NP and you will gain a better understanding than just our own anecdotal view on the issue.

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    4. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, the wolves in Yellowstone evolved there. They weren't imported.

      If you think that all our present endangered ground dwelling mammal species [and others] need additional predation I can only say you are not living in the real world. I admit things are out of balance but not in that regard and that isn't the solution.

      The simple evidence for this is the fact that on Fraser Is. you won't find much else there except some birds and goannas. The ground dwellers are gone. The balance is gone…

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    5. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Another reason I am of the opinion dingoes haven't been in Australia very long is that all that rich Mitchell grass gibber downs and channel country in far SW Qld and NE SA was sheep country up until WW2. Cordillo Downs was the centre and had a big wool scour industry from where the 'Ghans used to cart wool, 2 bales per camel, to the railhead at Marree. It started as a result of the Duracks and the Costellos in the 1870s

      The dingoes moved in and wiped out the industry at a time when wool was becoming very valuable. They were tested and found to be pure dingo.

      They also wiped out most of the bilbies.

      If they had been here for any length of time in ecological terms, they would have been there from the outset of white settlement.

      Australia isn't kept in any sort of ecological "balance" by these feral animals.

      That's why they are suffering on Fraser Is.

      The ecology is and always will be devastated and destroyed by them.

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    6. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      The wolves in Yellowstone Park were imported from Canada in 1995.

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    7. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Ok Julie, my mistake, but while they were missing in action for the blink of an eye, [~70 years] they evolved there as did all their natural prey and learnt to survive alongside each other for millions of years.

      But these placental predators have never evolved in Australia and our marsupials just cannot cope with them.

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    8. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      If the wolf was absent from yellowstone for some 70 years, why was it re-introduced if having top order predators has such a negative impact on the ecology of an area? Wasn't there a Eureka prize recently awarded to research indicating the dingo as an important regulator of the Aus ecosystem and a positive influence? http://australianmuseum.net.au/2013-eureka-environment

      Isn't Evelyn Downs having some positive experiences using dingoes to help manage a working cattle station, experiencing improved…

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    9. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      Scott, I've mentioned above about the very limited advantage of dingoes on cattle stations.

      And decimating means removing only 1 in 10 which, in a confined area [I assume dog fenced] does not mean anything as that's a very unnatural situation.

      If you want to find out how "essential" a feral top order predator like the dingo is, just compare the ground dwelling biodiversity of Tasmania [significant] with that of Fraser Island [devastated].

      Almost all the dingo has left on Fraser Island is…

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    10. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Hello Jim,

      As usual, you are short on fact and high on wild speculation.

      You keep insisting, without credible evidence, that dingoes are devastating wildlife in our national parks.

      You keep using Fraser Island as evidence of this. But, there is no credible expert evidence that the dingo is the cause of any biodiversity loss on FI. If there has been significant biodiversity loss there, why focus on the dingo,rather than the fact that FI is a highly disrupted ecosystem, being plundered by…

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    11. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      "Regarding the Arid Recovery dingo research, where do you get the '1 in 10' from?"

      Ernest, "decimated" is what Scott claimed above and I assumed he was using it in its correct sense.

      I wasn't aware of "Arid Recovery" but I will follow it up.

      But using an escape proof area in terrain not selected by either the foxes or the cats plus they would not be familiar with this terrain when in need of refuge, is typical of the "science" employed in this type of debate.

      It doesn't mean anything…

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    12. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      "You keep insisting, without credible evidence, that dingoes are devastating wildlife in our national parks."

      As someone who owns land with national parks on either side, walks and monitors national parks on a daily [sometimes twice daily] basis, pulls weeds and data logs wildlife therein for our Natural History data base and has done so for the last 24 years, I feel I have a reasonable idea of what is happening around me.

      I do know that QNPWS have rarely visited or maintained these areas…

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    13. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      How can claims be made about the experiments conducted at Arid Recovery Re: Dingoes as mesopredator control without even having looked at the experiment or being aware of the project?

      The facts are that the cat population already existed - the 'control' on the experiment was to fence an area consistent with a dingoes proven natural 'range' (approx. 50km square) and to observe the overall impact on all animals within the enclosure. My understanding is the dingoes were contained, along with the…

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    14. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Scott Morris

      Scott,

      My comments are based on the following research article, and I stand by my summary description of the research:

      K. Mosey et al., (2012) 'Interactions between a top order predator and exotic mesopredators in the Australian rangelands', International Journal of Ecology

      The stead purpose of this part of the research was to test the hypothesis that dingoes can suppress feral cats and foxes on a landscape scale.

      I am aware of the broader dimensions of the research in this region. It is the dingo dimension am concerned with here.

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    15. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      "How can claims be made about the experiments conducted at Arid Recovery Re: Dingoes as mesopredator control without even having looked at the experiment or being aware of the project? "

      Yes, it would be more informative to inspect the landscape and details of the experiment but the fact that they put a predator proof fence around it and then released the dingoes makes it a very flawed experiment. The cats and foxes were caught in a situation they would never put themselves in naturally.

      Dogs…

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    16. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      "My comments are based on the following research article, and I stand by my summary description of the research"

      I just found that paper and it represents very flawed research.

      Ernest, if that's all you have to base your opinions on you should give it away.

      Putting foxes and cats into an area they can't escape from, that is already a dingo range, devoid of any trees other than shrubs, as well as, very likely, already short on dingo tucker, is not going to reveal the real relationship…

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    17. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      "Yes, it would be more informative to inspect the landscape and details of the experiment but the fact that they put a predator proof fence around it and then released the dingoes makes it a very flawed experiment. The cats and foxes were caught in a situation they would never put themselves in naturally."

      But, instead, let's argue about something we haven't even researched and claim to be able to discredit it.

      You then proceed to raise points about how you have seen feral animals avoid dingoes…

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    18. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      When you introduce foxes and cats into an area they can't escape from, that they are not familiar with, that they didn't choose for themselves, that is virtually treeless and offers no known refuge to them, and has dingoes that are familiar with that area and are capable of killing them, and those animals then get killed by those dingoes, you haven't proved anything.

      It was always going to happen.

      That is not how these predators and mesopredators operate in nature without interference.

      Scott…

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    19. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, I would regard the following of your claims as untrue and unsupported by any evidence:

      1. Dingoes "pleasure kill". Please provide some references to documented research conducted by published scientists supporting this claim. Anecdotes and claims of 'what's happening in the real world' don't cut the mustard in any debate, Jim.

      2. Dingoes provide a negative impact on biodiversity. Again, some reference papers and documented research would be much appreciated.

      3. Dingoes are an introduced…

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    20. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      Scott, the things you are asking for about dingoes are not documented much in science because, most of the science papers I ever read are selling us on the idea of the dingo, not critical of it.

      1/ The dingo is a dog. Canid. It is also a wolf. lupus. Canis lupus dingo. It is well known that large packs of canids, when they have large flocks of prey, pleasure kill. Shepherds have been witnessing this since civilisation began. I have witnessed it with dingoes with flocks of wallabies and young…

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    21. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim,

      1. I asked for proof - you're offering your opinion. You're also imposing a very unscientific notion that the dingo experiences a human emotion - pleasure. There is no documentation of any predator in european history killing for 'pleasure'. There is a lot of evidence that suggests the kill rate is so low that predators will not attack prey unless they are instinctively likely to succeed in making the kill - the risk of physical injury and death is too high.

      There is further research…

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    22. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      There is no documentation of any predator in european history killing for 'pleasure'.

      Your education is sadly lacking, Scott.

      http://www.petersenshunting.com/2011/11/02/6-reasons-to-hunt-wolves/

      If you haven't seen a pack of dingoes pulling down sheep by ripping their sides open, leaving them and moving on to the next as the sheep are running in a flock, you have no idea. This is why sheep and many surviving prey flock.

      They evolved that way so that only the outside ones get killed…

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    23. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      Science hasn't documented the pleasure killing by dingoes because probably, as with the FI devastation, they are not looking and don't wish to know.

      But it has been going on forever.

      Also some believe that the Thai Dingo is the purest form of dingo:

      http://caninebreeds.bulldoginformation.com/primitive-dog-breeds.html

      And you still haven't explained how you think we can control all or any of our feral predators while the dingo remains protected.

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    24. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, can you provide some evidence that dingoes were responsible for the loss of the red legged pademelons on your property? Video, photo's, audio recordings? Or is this based on your prejudice and some droppings you found?

      And then the admission - there is no scientific evidence of pleasure killing by Dingoes… or any other predator. Only a link to a pro wolf hunting website. Your claims of disinterest by the scientific community are unfounded. The established CRC's and the likes of Ben Allen…

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    25. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Scott Morris

      "Jim, can you provide some evidence that dingoes were responsible for the loss of the red legged pademelons on your property?"

      Many people like me have witnessed these types of killings for thousands of years and have written about them but didn't have the capacity to film them to convince prejudiced people like you.

      The best I could do for those redlegged pademelons was to put their uneaten carcases into eskys and take them to the next NPWS meeting where I displayed them and told them what…

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    26. Dingo Simon

      Owner, Durong Dingo Sanctuary Qld

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Strewth, this is all getting so out of hand now.
      I am wondering what is going on here with all this chest thumping and testosterone anger??

      I am of the understanding we have all learnt about the dingo in different ways, basically thru observation by being there and by scientific evaluation over the ages.

      I think in all honesty , since we haven't been around the 3500 to 40,000 years of estimated dingo presence in Australia we make many presumptions about it's behaviour and survival.
      But as…

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    27. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Dingo Simon

      Simon, your dingoes are controlled dingoes. To all intents and purposes "domestic dingoes".

      Not running wild.

      I have no problems with that.

      I don't even have a lot of problems with the dingoes running wild on non-reserves.

      At least we can attempt to control them like we do all the other feral predators.

      It is only when these feral dingoes are given special protected status in our wildlife reserves and because of this it makes it impossible to do anything about all the wildlife killers in those reserves that it amounts to signing a death warrant on our native wildlife in the long term.

      This is the point I am making. Please understand that.

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  11. Neville Mattick
    Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

    This should be interesting.

    I pose this question, currently I like many Graziers' manage lands very well.

    I would like to make Biodiversity pay, however it doesn't and unless those with their hands on the levers can exercise some significance over Valuing Nature and placing a Dollar figure on Ecosystem services, it is going to stay the way it is for the foreseeable future.

    In my case many square kilometres, biodiverse and powered a disappearing landscape - "The Native Grassland", interspersed…

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Neville Mattick

      Neville, I don't think that anyone here is advocating that graziers should 'exit the landscape' - the issue is more about investigating better ways to manage the landscape. That isn't a criticism - simply a recognition that we can always improve our practices through research.

      The question here is, can the dingo (or wild dog) be used to better manage both grazing and protected areas? No-one would argue that dogs cause losses to the grazing industry - although I would suggest that these are far…

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  12. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Ever seen a dog die of 1080 poisoning, the use of which the Queensland government just widely deregulated? An hour of unearthly shrieking and howling whilst racing around madly crashing into things...total, horrendous, inhuman cruelty. That so many dingoes in the bush suffer this so widely and in such numbers is unthinkable. A local, unusually innovative farmer had two beautiful big minder dogs who died the same way. And this in cattle country, no sheep, where dingoes hunt mainly kangaroos and…

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    1. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Yes Pat, it's not a humane way to kill a pest animal but what is?

      Every govt dept and animal cruelty NGO has looked at the problem and 1080 is recognised as the best.

      Mainly because it is target specific and doesn't usually kill natives.

      When there is a baiting program on there are plenty of signs up and pets need to be restrained.

      If you use traps [cages don't work] it is more indiscriminate and probably more painful.

      Recent 1080 baiting programs have re-invigorated a wide range of endangered species that have been systematically devastated by feral predators.

      You can be sure that many of them died inhumanely too.

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    2. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      I meant to add, Pat, that if dingoes were native, 1080 wouldn't kill them.

      They are as feral as dogs, cats and foxes.

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    3. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Correct Jim - the Wild Dogs that arrived on my Station this year (after 130 years without) aren't Native, they are substantially hybrid, even though part of their coat is red, there is quite an amount of black and tan colouring.

      PAPP is new toxin on the way for feral Animal Control with an antidote.

      No one likes baiting however the arrival of Wild Dogs has seen the Fox almost disappear from the landscape due to the work of the Graziers' to eradicate them - this is a positive in less than…

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    4. Irene Chernenko

      Editor

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      What do you mean, Jim: "if dingoes were native, 1080 wouldn't kill them"?

      1080 acts to compromise cell metabolism, accumulating citrate in the blood which deprives cells of energy. It cannot discriminate between native and introduced species of mammals and was used very effecftively in May 2005 to kill up to 200,000 Bennetts wallabies on King Island n one of the largest coordinated 1080 poisonings seen in Tasmania.

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    5. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Irene Chernenko

      Good question Irene. 1080 [sodium fluoroacetate] is present in the environment in most parts of Australia and our natives have built up a considerable [but not complete] resistance to it.

      The dose in fox baits is too low to kill most natives but I understand that with that wallaby poisoning program there was much higher dosage. Also by burying the meat impregnated bait that also makes it more target specific. If say a meat eating digger like a scrub turkey, lyrebird, bandicoot or echidna should dig up a bait it would need to find a couple more to be affected whereas one bait would kill a fox, dog or dingo.

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    6. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Good try Jim.
      The issue of whether the dingo is native does not hinge on how sensitive it is to 1080. This is simplistic nonsense.

      There is no argument about the dingo being a relatively recent arrival - 3.5 to 5 thousand years ago. It cannot be expected to have developed resistance to 1080 in that time. Further carnivores would not be expected to delvelop the same resistance as herbivores anyway.

      The most important considerations are that the dingo was a taxon integrated into Australian…

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    7. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest, you seem to be agreeing with me on 1080. It certainly isn't a good way to eradicate pests, it just happens to be the best we have.

      But if you consider the dingo's ecosystem function is in the interests of Australian wildlife you need to take off the blinkers.

      As I said up thread, check out the biodiversity that's now a legacy of the dingo, on Fraser Is.

      This is occurring in all mainland national parks. They are slowly being devastated as a result of this mindless attitude that the dingo is a "native".

      Why it is so serious is that the more national parks are created, the more our ecosystems will be destroyed.

      We have better biodiversity on private property simply because we can control these feral predators there, but that is certainly not viable in the long term.

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    8. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, where do you get these unfounded claims from?

      Your claims about the negative affects of the dingo on Fraser Island are simply out of thin air. There is no credible research that attributes any biodiversity on Fraser Island to the dingo.

      Beyond that, you extend this claim to national parks on the mainland. again without any credible research to back this claim.

      The scientific evidence does not support your ideas. There is a very substantial and growing body of peer reviewed research…

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    9. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest, have you ever been to Fraser Is. and spent time walking through the bush and dunes looking for scats and tracks and just simply trying to find our native mammals. I have, since the '70s. And you would be hard pressed find one wallaby still alive there.

      Prior to Fraser being a NP it was a magical wildlife habitat and while it still contained it's share of ferals it had plenty of natives. Because the ferals were kept in check.

      That is why these dingoes are starving. They've wiped out everything that they can possibly catch and there is nothing left.

      Fraser Is. has fantastic potential to save many of our endangered natives because of its many unique advantages as a wildlife refuge but with the mindless fixation on this "native predator" as being both native and necessary, we have given this beautiful place an environmental death sentence.

      And the rest of our mainland national parks are heading the same way.

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    10. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest, I am not a farmer. I live on a big slice of land with no domestic animals [except a few chooks] that is the total area between two NPs and for the last 23 years I have been trying to preserve the wildlife [mainly unsuccessfully] that use my place as a corridor.

      I am very familiar with the efforts [and lack thereof] and philosophy of govt academics.

      But farmers, like me, see what's happening whereas people like you, theorise without knowing much.

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    11. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      "A group of scientists, this year, won the prestious Eureka award for science for work highlighting the importance of the dingo for ecosystems."

      Ernest, do you have a link to that paper?

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    12. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Ernest, I challenge any scientist who thinks dingoes are a key element in sustaining biodiversity to go to Tasmania where the dingo has never existed and look at probably the best biodiversity to be found in Australia. [more degraded admittedly since the arrival of the fox]

      And then go to Fraser Island where the "biodiversity" is forced to co-exist with the dingo and see how much is left.

      And then measure and judge.

      Has anyone done a scientific paper on this?

      It seems a very obvious comparison.

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  13. Jim Inglis

    retired

    Science can't see the problem that's right under its nose.

    The protected status of the dingo is preventing control of the main predators of native wildlife in national parks which are supposed to be our most significant wildlife areas.

    It has got so bad that in some NPs, rangers have instigated their own baiting programs with a dose "specifically for foxes" [and not mentioning that the dose is sufficient to also kill dingoes] to try to protect visibly disappearing rare and endangered fauna.

    The areas where this is happening is producing good results [in comparison to areas where it is not happening] for this fauna.

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    1. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Just keep ranting Jim.
      We don't need science or scientists.
      All we need is you.

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    2. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest, why not try simply answering some of my questions instead of insults.

      Richard Feynman said: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts".

      Try being a little scientific for a change.

      I have been data logging the existence and occurrence of wildlife for a natural history association for the last 20 years in national parks.

      When you have done that for that long you get some understanding as to what's happening.

      Answer me this:

      What do dingoes contribute to our ecosystem that feral dogs don't?

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    3. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, I'm happy to talk science. You are not.
      You make grand assertions without any published, peer reviewed science to back them.
      Give me the details of the published, peer reviewed science that shows dingoes are devastating wildlife in our national parks. Then, I will take your claims seriously.

      a

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    4. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest, so you refuse to see the obvious simply because consensual science also doesn't wish to see the obvious?

      Will you settle for EVIDENCE instead?

      Will you admit that the biodiversity on Fraser Is. is considerably depleted as a result of the dingo population?

      What is your reason for the decline?

      Our two koala colonies have been wiped out by these predators.

      Our red legged pademelon colonies have been wiped out.

      Our whip tail wallabies have been wiped out.

      Our red necked wallabies have been wiped out.

      Our echidnas have been wiped out.

      And this is not even half of what's been devastated in my backyard.

      On Fraser Is it is much worse.

      Are you telling me, Ernest, that this isn't happening because there is no peer reviewed paper to support this?

      Scientists need to take a long, hard look at themselves because they really are not part of the solution.

      It seems that scientists are the problem.

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    5. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      "Jim, I'm happy to talk science. You are not."

      If you're happy to talk science, Ernest, could you quote one sentence in your "peer reviewed science" papers that show EVIDENCE of the dingo having a positive effect on the Australian ecosystem.

      And I don't mean hand waving about the theoretical advantage of apex predators in the system or that it is believed that they control other feral predators.

      I mean EVIDENCE of the presence of the dingo in a wildlife habitat leading to measured greater biodiversity.

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    6. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Ernest, why do you think it is that scientists prefer to be consensual rather than rock the boat?

      Is it a "mates" thing?

      Or a funding thing?

      Or an ivory tower thing?

      Or is it a problem with being a little sceptical?

      I am amazed that something so obvious as this wildlife depletion that's happening in our national parks right under our noses hasn't caused some scepticism about the dingo and the policies derived from the scientific attitude towards it.

      How long, do you think, scientists will wait before looking at the other side of the argument?

      How much more depleted and devastated must our ecosystems become?

      Any chance of a response to any of these questions?

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    7. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      "....If you're happy to talk science, Ernest, could you quote one sentence in your "peer reviewed science" papers that show EVIDENCE of the dingo having a positive effect on the Australian ecosystem...."

      Jim, you are sitting in front of a computer, try using it to do a little research rather than just spouting an opinion.

      But to start you off, try reading these - then look at the references at the end and have a read of them as well:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/emr.12035/full

      http://www.cof.orst.edu/leopold/class-reading/Letnic2012_BR.pdf

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    8. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Jim, Ernest and Mike (and others),

      People interested in an 'absence of evidence' for dingoes ecological roles might like to read http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320712005022. This article makes it clear that there is next to no solid "evidence" whatsoever for dingoes ecological roles - just lots of dressed-up anecdotes, observations and snap-shot correlations.

      People interested in 'evidence of absence' for dingoes ecological roles might like to read http://www.frontiersinzoology.com/content/10/1/39

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    9. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      If you are correct re absence of evidence for dingoes ecological role, why were Letnic, Ritchie, Johnson, Wallach and O'Neil presented with a Eureka Prize?

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    10. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      Thanks Ben.

      I think that's the important point. One single paper or a bunch of anecdotes or personal experiences does not make for valid science or conclusions. People need to read and research widely on the subject to consider the issues from a variety of perspectives, and there isn't a 'simple' answer that is applicable in all circumstances, and you need to put aside your ideological view and be prepared to admit that you may not know it all.

      I appreciate your expert viewpoint.

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    11. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Ben Allen, your lack of knowledge about dingo pack structure is deplorable. Your father has demonstrated that baiting dingoes increases calf losses presumably because baiting often destroys the alpha pair. When these are no longer present the juveniles are left to reproduce ad infinitum with whoever they like. My point is that continual baiting of dingoes, whether they are pure dingoes, hybrids or wild dogs will increase the chance of sexually transmitted hybridization as it breaks down the pack…

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    12. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, I have been hearing and reading this stuff for years but I have yet to see evidence of it.

      "We outline a suite of conceptual models....."

      Does that ring any alarm bells for you?

      I have been on properties where there have been 4 times as many kangaroos as sheep but they were never a problem in good seasons and they were controlled by drought more than anything else.

      I doubt if the Thylacine ever controlled big irruptions of kangaroos to any degree.

      Science is confusing our ecosystems…

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    13. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      "....I doubt if the Thylacine ever controlled big irruptions of kangaroos to any degree..."

      And your evidence for this is......? Or is it just your feeling?

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    14. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      "And your evidence for this is......? Or is it just your feeling?"

      Just using logic.

      Ever studied anything about the thylacine Mike? It was not particularly aggressive and was wiped out in Tasmania mainly by domestic dogs over a relatively short period of time. If you are familiar with kangaroo irruptions where after a good season you can have a 20,000 increase in one netted paddock [which means millions over the good seasonal area], it would take a lot of aggressive thylacines to make inroads and I can't imagine they were ever in those huge numbers. If they were they would likely still be around.

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    15. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Benjamin Allen

      Thanks for that Ben.

      Good to see that science is looking at both sides.

      But the dingo is still protected in National Parks and this needs to be addressed if we are going to preserve our natives in the long term.

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    16. Benjamin Allen

      Dingo ecologist at University of Queensland

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Julie,

      Thanks for your thoughts, they're always very passionate.

      I am well aware of my father's work. I have been doing much of that work with him ever since I could walk, I helped do some of the field work on that project, I helped write the published cattle predation article you refer to, and I currently sit in the office beside him where we talk dingoes all day long before having family BBQs where we do the same thing all night long. I have a hunch that I might be more intimately familiar…

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    17. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim I can quite correctly repeat your comments back to you, as you as always are very short on fact and high on wild speculation. You do not provide evidence of peer reviewed science, as Dr Healy does; your rhetoric appears to be based on some ad hoc observations.

      Knowing what is happening with wildlife is not ‘being aware’ if it is science the evidence must be measured rigorously. Just spending a bit of time in the bush does not make good scientific data that can or ever should be used as credible…

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    18. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Julie, I've asked Dr Healy to show me any peer reviewed science that proves that dingoes have a beneficial effect on native wildlife and to date he has produced nothing.
      He did mention to Scott about that K. Mosey et al paper on introducing foxes and cats into a treeless "dingo pen" to prove that dingoes kill cats and foxes which was a very flawed experiment in my opinion.

      Cats and foxes can outsmart a dingo any day of the week if left to their own devices and not have humans placing them in…

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    19. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim your arguments continue to be flawed personal opinion as opposed to rigorous science. You continually suggest that the Fraser Island ecology is devastated due to dingoes. I suggest you read the recently published peer reviewed scientific paper in the journal Science which states “The team of international authors, led by Professor William Ripple of Oregon State University, says the environmental importance of these animals (including dingoes) is underestimated; that current wildlife management…

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    20. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Julie, you endlessly request science and proof yet you cannot come up with one scientific paper based on detailed research and inspection of the area, as to what beneficial effect the dingo has had on native wildlife on Fraser Island.

      You say the other commenters here are using science to make their arguments but you don't realise how flawed that "science" is.

      The evidence of their destruction is there for all to see but you not only deny it, you abuse me for trying to show you.

      And please tell me how you would control feral predators in national parks and reserves if the dingo remains protected.

      And I do know the difference in appearance between a dingo, a fox and a cat.

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    21. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Hi Jim. As I have already stated, there is a growing body of knowledge which you can access via any scientific data base. I will attach references for a few papers to the foot of this comment. As for your accusation that the science being quoted to you is flawed your comment "And please tell me how you would control feral predators in National Parks and reserves if the dingo remains protected". clearly demonstrates your lack of insight into the current science relating to the role of the dingo…

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    22. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Julie, these papers all come from the "promotional" side of the dingo problem.

      I asked you to produce any science that refutes my claims that there is nothing but environmental destruction on Fraser Island as a result of the dingo.

      Let me know when you find something.

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    23. Ernest Healy

      Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim,

      Now that Julie Fechner has provided you with an extensive list of peer reviewed scientific references which refute your personal opinion and lifelong ad hoc observations, you are effectively painted into a corner, but will not admit it.

      Initially, you used your unfounded claims about the dingo on FI as pseudo evidence to justify similarly unfounded claims about the dingo in national parks on the mainland. Julie's sources refute your more general claims about the dingo on the mainland…

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    24. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Hi Jim, have you actually read these papers, I suspect not as you would not have replied as you did, as they do refute your arguments. And if you claim you have read them then my opinion of you (which would probably matter nothing to you) is further downgraded as I suspect you are unable to understand basic scientific research.

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    25. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Ernest Healy

      Ernest, anyone who thinks they can state with any certainty that native wildlife on the whole of the continent of Australia benefits from having a pack of feral dogs as a protected apex predator is nothing more than a speculating fabricator.

      Any "scientific" evidence to support that is pure assumption.

      Cats and foxes are not in decline on the mainland.

      But our endangered natives sure are, as a result of this protected feral.

      But in more specific areas such as FI and Tas, science has an…

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    26. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Julie Fechner

      Julie, If you have anything that is pertaining to the wildlife situation on FI or Tasmania as a result [or not] of the dingo, please supply a link.

      Otherwise please read my reply to Ernest H.

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  14. Dingo Simon

    Owner, Durong Dingo Sanctuary Qld

    If anyone is interested here are 2 short videos of what I am trying to do to save the dingo and also the ones on Fraser Island.
    Andrew Powell, Minister for EHP Qld has said in the Ecosure Report he was in favour of the idea of having a Dingo Sanctuary on Fraser Island but in the same breath said the Qld Govt will not fund it.
    I have failed on every occasion to have follow up conversations with him as he simply is not interested.
    I am no Scientist but even blind freddy can see the survival of…

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    1. Scott Morris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dingo Simon

      Man trumps all, Simon. Unless you can get some off the island and into sanctuaries, i suspect you are right and the only hope is the event may be used as a catalyst to prevent the rest of the mainland losing the dingo.

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    2. Julie Fechner

      Retired (Grumpy old woman)

      In reply to Dingo Simon

      Simon, I have just looked at your videos, and they are great, showing lots of the typical pack behaviour developing in the pups. So inquisitive, testing for dominance, and caring by older pack members. Loved the practicing walking along the branch Congratulations.,

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