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23 May 2007 - Protection for Victorias dingoes      

Protection for Victoria’s dingoes

Sydney, 23 May 2007                      

Humane Society International (HSI) is pleased with the preliminary recommendation by the Victorian Scientific Advisory Committee to list the dingo as a threatened native species under their Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. At serious risk of extinction in the wild, immediate actions to protect this species are urgently required.

“Dingos have existed in Australia for more than 4000 years prior to European settlement,” said Michael Kennedy, HSI Director. “As a key-stone predator, they are of immense ecological importance to the regulation of species richness in lower trophic levels. Loss of the dingo from our wild ecosystems would lead to a shift in the predator – prey balance and seriously alter the plant and animal communities in these areas.”

Extensive reductions in range and abundance Australia-wide have prompted The World Conservation Union (IUCN) to list the species as Vulnerable, indicating that populations have declined by more than 30% over the last three generations. This decline in pure dingo populations is primarily the result of hybridisation with wild dogs which has seen the proportion of hybrids in some areas increase to as high as 78%. Experts agree that this rate of hybridisation is likely to result in the extinction of pure dingos by the end of the 21st century.

“This preliminary determination to list the dingo as a threatened species in Victoria signals a recognition of its iconic status within Australia,” said Mr Kennedy. “This should serve as the impetus for the assessment of other outstanding nominations that seek to protect this species under conservation legislation throughout Australia.”

Complementary to this current Victorian nomination, HSI last year nominated eleven places Australia-wide for inclusion on the National Heritage list, to protect some of the most outstanding examples of intact dingo populations in Australia. These are the populations residing in the Arafura Swamp, Bradshaw Training Area and Kapalga in the Northern Territory, Fraser Island in Queensland, Kosciusko in New South Wales, the Simpson Desert in central Australia, and five of the Kimberly Islands in Western Australia.

The dingo is of immense national significance, and listing as a threatened species provides an ideal opportunity to afford greater protection to this species in Victoria. HSI looks forward to the successful listing of the dingo under Victoria’s threatened species legislation.

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