Thursday 7 November 2019

It's not 'wild dog' management—we are just killing dingoes

NOVEMBER 1, 2019

by University of New South Wales

Dingo or just wild dog? A new study busts the misconception that pure dingoes are extinct in NSW—and finds several 'dingo hotspots' around the state.

Almost all wild dogs in NSW are dingoes or dingo-dominant hybrids, a study from UNSW Sydney and collaborators has found, challenging the widely held view that pure dingoes are virtually extinct in the state.

The study, published this week in Conservation Genetics, tested the genetic makeup of 783 wild canids (animals belonging to the Canidae family, such as dingoes, domestic dogs, foxes and wolves) across north-eastern NSW.

Crucially, the study found nearly one in four animals sampled were likely pure dingoes.

Dingo-dominant hybrids—i.e. animals whose genetic make-up is dominated by dingo genes—accounted for 75 percent of the animals tested, while hybrids with mostly domestic dog genes only made up 2 percent. Surprisingly, less than 1 percent were feral dogs with no dingo ancestry.

The researchers also identified several 'hotspots' in north-eastern NSW where more pure dingoes exist than expected: Port Macquarie, Myall Lakes and the Washpool National Park area.

"Our study shows that for all intents and purposes, wild dogs and dingoes are one and the same," says UNSW Professor Mike Letnic, co-author of the study.

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