Sunday, 6 March 2011
Dingo Secrets of the Blue Mountains
Somehow, just a few kilometres from the crowded streets of Sydney, a secret society of dingoes has managed to remain hidden. But what’s now being revealed about their culture and intelligence is amazing. And considering the prevailing attitude to dingoes, it’s a miracle there are any left.
The ABC's Catalyst program recorded this program in 2009.
A subspecies of the wolf, the dingo was introduced by humans to Australia around 5000 years ago, resulting in the extinction of the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) and Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) in mainland Australia.
The dingo is now the native top-order predatory mammal. Dingoes are omnivorous, though they primarily eat medium to large mammals such as wallabies and kangaroos. They regulate kangaroo numbers in South Australia and probably elsewhere, and help to control feral species such as cats,
pigs, goats and foxes. They live in most environments, from densely forested to cleared areas.
The dingo is listed on the IUCN red list of threatened species as vulnerable due to a 30% decrease in numbers (see IUCN 2005).
In NSW, dingo populations from Sturt NP, the coastal ranges and some coastal parks have been nominated as endangered populations under the TSC Act.
In contrast, the dingo is unprotected under the NPW Act, despite being considered a native species – a discrepancy that is yet to be resolved.
Dingoes are also a declared pest species under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998.