Why Killing Dingoes is Ineffective

Stop killing dingoes

In NSW, all native animals are afforded legislative protection except the dingo. For centuries, dingoes have been persecuted and targeted simply for trying to survive.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes them on the red list of threatened species, meaning they are considered to be at risk of extinction in less than 20 years. Despite this, dingoes are routinely and cruelly killed by trapping, shooting, and poisoning all across Australia. The chemical used, commonly referred to as “1080”, is banned almost everywhere else in the world because of the slow and inhumane death it causes.

Why are dingoes killed?

Dingoes have also been erroneously labelled “wild dogs” by the Australian Government and agriculture industry. This label is based on an unavoidable element of interbreeding with working domestic dogs, many of whom either escaped or were abandoned. In the process, hybridisation and killing have led to the destruction of stable and healthy pack structures. The term “wild dogs” allows dingoes to be declared as a “noxious” animals. This means that they are offered zero protection under existing State law. In fact, it creates loopholes in the law that effectively permit acts of wanton animal cruelty to be routinely done upon them. [1]

The reason they are being killed is because animal harming industries, primarily sheep and wool, want an easy solution to protect the animals they plan to make a profit off killing or exploiting themselves. [2] Dingoes can hunt farmed animals, but this is often because normal prey species have disappeared due to land clearing and other human-induced impacts.

Finally, it must be noted that humans are solely responsible for dingo/dog hybridisation; if desexing was made mandatory for all dogs, and in particular, working and hunting dogs, hybridisation would not be as important a problem for the species as it is today.

Why is killing ineffective?

A stable pack: Dingoes have a social hierarchy within their packs. Only the alpha pair reproduce; the rest of the pack help to raise their young. If another female reproduces, the alpha female will kill their young [3]. The dominant female will only breed once a year [4] and the alpha male will chase off or kill any intruders, be it another dingo or a domestic dog. This keeps pack numbers down and stops hybrid breeding. [5]

Killing members of a stable pack: When trapping, shooting, and baiting takes place, approximately half of a pack is killed. This may decrease numbers, but it is only a temporary one. It, in turn, creates the conditions for drastic problems that impact the broader ecosystem as a whole.

Effects of killing: Following the death of some pack members, survivors may begin to reproduce with outside males, including both male dingoes and domestic dogs. As there is no alpha to control the pack, the number of pups increases. This results in a need for more food and resources. From this, the original pack splits into smaller packs, increasing the number of dingoes in surrounding areas, creating an ever greater demand for now-diminishing resources. The smaller packs have trouble taking down their typical prey, the kangaroo, and as a result, the pack hunts on smaller easier prey animals, such as lambs and sheep [6].

Why Killing is Ineffective.

Solution

Dingoes need protection. Aside from being a cruel and ineffective practice, completely removing an apex predator has cascading catastrophic impacts on the environment and proper ecological functioning. A study done in Yellowstone National Park showed how wolves played a pivotal role in their ecosystem. Other Australian studies have proven that “ending lethal control may in itself reduce livestock losses by enabling the predator’s social structure to stabilise”. The only sustainable, practical and sensible solution is to stop killing dingoes so that packs can stabilise and the ecosystem can be restored to its natural balance. This will reduce the number of pups and dingo packs, in turn reducing the number of sheep killed.

Animal Liberation repeatedly calls for desexing of companion animals to be made mandatory across the nation and continues to campaign for a ban on 1080 poison.