Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australia’s Iconic Top Predator Must Be Protected

By Michael Kennedy

Lethal control programs treat dingoes like pests, yet the evidence is mounting that this damages ecosystems by enabling foxes and feral cats to thrive.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It seems we’ll never learn that the dingo is a great friend of the Australian environment. In recent months we have seen proposals to dump and then kill dingoes on an offshore island to control feral goats; a suggestion that we should be selling dingo meat to Asian markets; and calls to bring back a dingo bounty in Victoria.

Emerging conservation science is increasingly pointing to the importance of dingoes as our top order mammalian predator, helping to control both introduced red foxes and feral cats, and fulfilling critical ecosystem functions. In turn this means that dingoes play an equally important role in protecting a long list of threatened and non-threatened Australian species that are being preyed upon in almost incomprehensible numbers by feral interlopers. Yet we continue to kill dingoes in large numbers even though the CSIRO’s Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012 (http://tinyurl.com/h4mxu4u) describes the dingo as “near threatened”.

The dingo’s essential role in suppressing feral cat populations was stressed in Humane Society International’s (HSI) submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats (http://tinyurl.com/jtskv48), in which we stated:...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.