Tag Archives: dingo

Dawn of a Dingo Day

Dawn of a Dingo Day-book-promo-aug2020

A NEW BOOK with terrific photos of Australia’s native dog the Dingo, is available now from the Australian Dingo Foundation. The short work is by Yosef Lasarow, a newer arrival to Australia, who came with great appreciation for the country’s unique beauty and animals. That appreciation is reflected in this work.

Lasarow accompanies some stunning, up-close Dingo photography with mediations on the nature and ecological role of our native dog, persecution by the farming community and governments and some directions to co-existence and truce, before it is too late. All Australians might support that direction.

Available from http://www.dingodiscovery.net  — link to SHOP.

Or check Amazon for an e book version.

 

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Dingo (Wild Dog) baiting in Southeastern Australia and Bushfire Recovery

Dear Minister/s,

17 February 2020

The Honourable Sussan Ley MP
Minister for Environment, Australia
Address: Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600
minister.ley@environment.gov.au

cc: The Honourable David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Australia
(
minister.littleproud@agriculture.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Victoria (
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture, Victoria
(
jaclyn.symes@parliament.vic.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Matthew Kean MP, Minister for Energy and Environment, New
South Wales (
office@kean.minister.nsw.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Agriculture, New South Wales
(
adam.marshall@parliament.nsw.gov.au)
cc: Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner
(
ThreatenedSpeciesCommissioner@environment.gov.au)

The undersigned wish to express our expert opinion on the status of dingoes across Australia in light of the current bushfire emergency. At the time of writing, more than 10 million hectares has been burnt across Australia, including 1.2 million hectares in Victoria and 4.9 million hectares in New South Wales. Across southeastern Australia this represents burning of major dingo habitat zones in National Parks and State Forests. We commend the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments for their focus on assisting fauna and flora recovery after the catastrophic 2019/2020 bushfire season, however, the proposed ‘feral predator’ aerial baiting plans are counterproductive to that aim. In particular, we wish to express concern about plans to undertake widespread 1080 “wild dog” aerial baiting across burnt habitat in NSW and VIC.

The prevailing wisdom is that introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats pose the most significant risk to native fauna (marsupials, birds, reptiles etc). These risks need to be proactively and swiftly managed to protect (already struggling) threatened species that have been endangered by recent bushfires. We agree that proactive measures to limit introduced predators may need to be taken but these should be targeted and not endanger native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids. Currently proposed aerial baiting programs will not target cats, leaving threatened species under increased pressure from these predators. It is also important to iterate that “wild dog” baiting will kill dingoes, leading to widespread mesopredator release, removing suppressive pressure on cat and fox populations exerted by dingoes.

Aerial baiting in bushfire affected southeastern Australia is an unacceptable risk to native carnivores Aerial baiting with 1080 poison poses an unacceptable risk to native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids because it is unknown if food scarcity in burnt landscape may increase bait consumption leading to poisoning of quolls or varanids. Furthermore, dingoes are highly susceptible to 1080 baiting and are included as a direct target of “wild dog” baiting efforts. Importantly, best-practice guidelines to limit 1080 baiting impacts on quolls suggests that all baits should be buried to a depth of more than 10 cm andaerial or broadcast surface baiting should only be used in areas where it can
be demonstrated that there is a low risk to spot-tailed quoll populations
(EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.4 — Significant impact guidelines for the endangered spot-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus maculatus (southeastern mainland population) and the use of 1080). Currently it is unknown how quolls and other non-target species will be impacted by aerial baiting in burnt habitat. Arguably, the recently proposed NSW “wildlife and conservation bushfire recovery” plan should be referred to the Federal Environment Minister under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for assessment.

We strongly emphasise the ecological importance of terrestrial apex predators in  biodiversity resilience and ecosystem functioning. Dingoes are the sole non-human land-based top predator on the Australian mainland. Their importance to the ecological health and resilience of Australian ecosystems cannot be overstated, from regulating wild herbivore abundance (e.g. various kangaroo species), to reducing the impacts of feral mesopredators (cats, foxes) on native marsupials (Johnson & VanDerWal 2009; Wallach et al. 2010; Letnic et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2013; Newsome et al. 2015; Morris & Letnic 2017). It would be hypothesised that continued dramatic reduction of dingo populations, by aerial baiting, will enable introduced mesopredators such as foxes and cats to exploit burnt areas unchecked, posing a high risk to threatened native species. The impacts of feral cats and red foxes are likely to be amplified in disturbed ecosystems, such as those burnt by bushfires. Indiscriminate and non-target specific lethal management should not be implemented if there is a risk to the persistence of threatened native fauna or ecosystem resilience.

We would urge the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments to focus bushfire recovery efforts on proactive evidence-based measures including:

Installation of exclusion fences to protect recovering vegetation and wildlife communities (short-term)

Targeting lethal control measures to key refuge areas and important sites for remaining populations of threatened species

Limiting lethal control to targeted methods such as shooting, trapping or ground-baiting where steps are taken to limit non-target bait consumption

Providing supplemental shelter, food and water to identified remaining populations of threatened species

Increasing post-fire weed control to protect regeneration efforts.

 

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to continue reading from top p3, (Dingoes have a fundamental …)

 

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Poisoned pills showered on burned parks and reserves, NSW

THE RECENT BUSHFIRES in eastern Australia have had an apocalyptic impact on the natural environment and wildlife, as the whole world now knows. What most Australians and overseas wildlife friends don’t know is some of the troubling response by state authorities.

wildlife-cons-bushfire-recoveryThe NSW government has devised a plan called The Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery Plan put forward by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment with management by NSW National Parks. Sounds benign and much of it is.

The suffering of some wildlife and the needs of citizen rescuers have been recognised in the plan’s proposed financial assistance to individuals and organisations, as well as with money for food drops and watering stations in areas of inaccessible bushland. Some good recovery actions are planned, see document link below for the department’s ‘Bushfire Recovery Plan’.

But there is a darker side — bringing new pain and death, thanks to Australia’s traditional lethal approach to managing predators and other animals inconvenient to agriculture, or indeed just Australian ideas of wildlife management.

The department’s plan has a list of threatened and vulnerable native animals suffering from habitat loss, scarcity of food and water, and threats of predation by feral animals — including the Mountain Pygmy Possum, the Greater Glider, the White-footed Dunnart, the Stuttering Frog, and some wallabies. Rescue operations are named also for Platypus, Grey-headed flying foxes, Booroolong frogs, genetically important Koalas from the Blue Mountains region, Manning River Helmeted Turtles, Northern Corroboree Frogs. Well and good.

But missing from the check list of animals that the authorities care about are more common species including larger kangaroos and wombats, birds of prey, and the Australian native dog the Dingo. Indeed, the dingo as a ‘wild dog’ and a list of non-native animals are the target of a shooting and poisoning campaign being launched on burned-out parks and reserves for the coming year, ostensibly to save the above threatened species.

The poisoning blizzard has been spun by departmental aides armed with a barrage of statistics as being essential to benefit these vulnerable native animals.

Is that so?

History has made neighbouring landholders more enquiring and worried. One neighbouring landholder, worried for her own rescued animals and companion dogs, told the AWPC she learned from a state worker that the traditional motive for poisoning campaigns — sheep farmers lobbying National Parks to kill canine predators — is also at work here.

It appears that dingos have simply been re-classified as wild dogs for the purposes of baiting which has been par for the course by the government’s Local Land Services for some time.

The Australian dingo among non-native animals targeted by shooting and poisoning campaign on burned-out public lands. Neighbours worry.

Animals listed to be killed are dogs, foxes, cats, deer, pigs, goats and rabbits. When broadscale lethal management is on the mind of authorities they reach for the gun and for 1080 poison.

1080 banned in most of the world

1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) occurs naturally in some plants as a defence. It is considered so nasty a poison against mammals that it has been banned in most countries of the world nowadays and is accused of deleterious effects on a wider range of species beyond mammals. 1080 is used liberally in New Zealand and also in Australia because it is cheap and readily applied being colourless, odourless and tasteless so readily eaten by various species when in appealing baits.

Animals that take in 1080 die a prolonged and agonising death whether directly or as non-target species including scavenging dogs and birds. A “scientific” experiment on the effects of 1080 poison on baited dingoes gave detailed accounts of vomiting, manic behaviour, convulsions and fits over a period of a time from hours to days.

Many landholders have been agonised by a similar death of their pet dogs when living near baited state or private land.

RELATED STORY:
After the fires, 1080 baits pose new problem for animal sanctuary.

By Michael Weaver, Riot Act!

National Parks’ killing plan to run for 12 months, shooting and baiting. One million 1080 baits ready. Who pays and who benefits?

  • 1,500–2,000 hours of aerial shooting
  • localised follow-up and ground shooting
  • up to 60,000 kilometres of aerial baiting
  • deployment of up to 1,000,000 baits

Dingo defender Susan Cruttenden from the NSW South Coast asks:

How can dingoes and other carnivorous native animals such as the Spotted Quoll be given any sort of protection in what one official called “core areas” when they have been driven away from their regular habitats by fear, fire and hunger?

The department said in response to questions from Cruttenden:

 “Aerial baiting for wild dogs is designed to avoid core remote areas in parks where dingoes cause no harm, allowing dingoes to maintain their ecological function in these areas.

“Scientific research has shown native animals including lace monitors and birds have a high tolerance to 1080. Research has also shown that aerial baiting does not significantly impact quolls populations.

“Aerial baiting will comply with all relevant codes of practice and regulations, and will be informed by a risk assessment. Work will be carried out by an experienced National Parks and Wildlife Service staff team that has been delivering aerial baiting for two decades.”

The responses add more questions and beg for sources of the Quoll research for example. Core areas and harm? Core areas of National Parks were burned as well, so recovering wildlife there no worry with wild dogs?

Cruttenden repeats what other research has found — there are more effective and more humane ways of protecting farmers’ livestock from dingoes and other predatory animals. The apex predator role in nature is another issue.

One sheep farmer we know of uses Alpaca guards and it works. A more holistic farming method includes the whole natural biodiversity from the soil up. Not killing native prey wallabies and kangaroos, or predators has worked on these farms with a balance established.

In defence of the dingo and Australian biodiversity

Charming the visitor at the Toolern Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre. Image: Allan Baxter.

Canus lupus dingo has survived in Australia for thousands of years, is revered by indigenous people as a totem animal, and admired by people who have protected and cared for it in homes and sanctuaries.

The dingo is also highly regarded by scientists and ecologists for its unique qualities and the vital role it plays as apex-predator in the wild.

Dingoes are recognised as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and National Resources, an organisation which has world renowned naturalist David Attenborough as its patron. Estimates of the number of dingoes in the wild vary greatly because of the vast areas to be covered.

Australia’s biodiversity is crashing, independent of bushfires

Animal eradication plans are among the concerns of the 248 Australian scientists who wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in late 2019 urging strong leadership to arrest the rapid decline in the number of native species and the break-down of  natural eco-systems.


Sign the Change.org petition #BAN1080
AGAINST 1080 THAT HAS ALREADY GARNERED 28,000+ SIGNATURES

— and PASS IT ON

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LONELY AT THE TOP: Meddling in Ecosystems

By Natalie Kyriacou
About the author:
Natalie Kyriacou is the Director of My Green World, an organisation dedicated to the conservation and protection of wildlife and habitats. She has worked on various animal welfare and conservation projects, including an orangutan rehabilitation program in Borneo, an elephant rescue program in Sri Lanka, and a dog sterilisation clinic in Sri Lanka and Australia.
Natalie holds a degree in Journalism and a Masters in International Relations at the University of Melbourne. She is a current appointed member of the Animal Ethics Committee for the Department of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Melbourne.


ORIGINS OF THE DINGO

With somewhat murky ancestral origins and a much maligned reputation in Australia, the dingo has long been considered a polarizing predator; both a cultural icon and livestock pest.

Perhaps no other predator is more deeply embedded in the Australian psyche than the dingo. Its history in Australia has grabbed headlines for more than a century, from the stolen baby in the infamous Azaria Chamberlain case to being the cause for the construction of the legendary Dingo Fence in 1885 to protect grazing lands, the dingo has entrenched itself deeply into the rich fabric of Australian culture.

Bearing a striking resemblance to the domestic dog, the dingo is currently listed as a subspecies of the grey wolf, though its exact ancestry is highly enigmatic and much debated. More recent research suggests that the dingo came to Australia via Southern China, anywhere between 4600 and 18,300 years ago.

Despite its flawed reputation, Australia’s largest terrestrial predator is also a vital component of healthy ecosystems in Australia and an important contributor to environmental recovery and the protection of threatened native species.

HAUNTING CONSERVATIONISTS
Considered one of the most vexing issues facing conservationists and agriculturalists alike, the dingo has haunted the Australian landscape for over 200 years.

The culling of dingoes is commonplace in Australia, and their numbers have fluctuated widely as a result. Government-run programs consenting the dingo cull are active across the country, with methods including poisoning, shooting and using sodium fluoroacetate.

The deadly drama of predators and their prey is often described as a prime example of natural selection in action, however, often overlooked is the role that humans play in these relationships, and how their meddlesome actions within precious ecosystems can have devastating consequences.

THE APEX PREDATOR
Most recently, the dingo has experienced catastrophic decline as a result of human persecution. Such a collapse of top predator populations is associated with dramatic upsurges of smaller predators. Known as the mesopredator theory, this trophic interaction has been witnessed heavily in Australia. Disruption to the number of dingoes has a cascading effect throughout entire ecosystems, initiating a surge of unchecked predation by lower species and an unravelling of bionetworks.

When dingo populations dwindle, foxes, feral cats, and kangaroos grow bolder. Foxes and cats eat large quantities of small mammals, while kangaroos destroy vegetation which smaller marsupials live in, leading to an equally controversial kangaroo cull.

Thus, the crucial role of the apex predator is undermined frequently. The story of the dingo is not unique. The apex predator has been continually persecuted throughout the world, and the results are almost always the same.

ECOLOGICAL IMPACT
The impact that unregulated mesopredators have on ecosystems is something which has only recently been recognised. In 2006, scientists from James Cook University and Australian National University published a report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, tracking the geographical relationship between dingoes, threatened species, and now-extinct species.
Their research suggests that dingoes actually aid the survival of smaller, more vulnerable species in Australia, and their presence is actually associated with the persistence of native Australian animals. By suppressing populations of introduced predators and larger herbivores, the dingo actually reduced the threat to native species. The study found that in areas where dingoes had been removed, most of the native mammal extinctions had occurred.

WAR ON DINGOES
This complex ecological dynamic has been largely overlooked in Australia, and the war on dingoes has continued to rage, compromising their genetic strain, causing many dingo subspecies to fall extinct, and dooming much of Australia’s biodiversity.

If the dingo was entirely eliminated from Australia, then prey species would doubtlessly suffer. The dingo is not only a keystone species protecting mammal biodiversity in Australia, but it is the most significant constraint on the harmful potential of exotic predators. The notion that we must so thoroughly regulate and intervene in the wild is highly alarming, and the devastating impact it has on natural ecosystems is already being felt around the world.

Natalie Kyriacou
http://www.mygreenworld.org/war-on-dingoes/

Featured image: “Dingo Perth Zoo SMC Sept 2005”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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