Australian Dingo: A Case Study

Decent Essays

Should Australian conservation efforts to protect the populations of the Australian dingo be strengthened in order to revive them from their status as a threatened species?

Petropoulos et al, (2015) state that ecosystems depend on a balance of each of its biotic factors such as wildlife and abiotic factors to exist and Australian outback ecosystems are no exception. For this reason, amongst others, conservation programs are run which work to protect some vulnerable and many endangered species of wildlife in Australia (Clayton et al,. 2014). Clayton et al, (2014) describe that some conservation programs work on conserving a species’ environment such as protecting surrounding plants and trees from deforestation while others work on illegalising …show more content…

As an apex predator, dingoes control the biodiversity of Australian wildlife by maintaining the control over population numbers of their prey and regulating numbers of subordinate mesopredators such as red foxes and feral cats, thereby indirectly helping to protect various other animals (Allen, Engeman and Krupa, 1996). Letnic and Koch (2010) extrapolate that the disappearance of dingoes is likely to result in an increase in population numbers of kangaroos, rabbits and turkeys which are all known to be pests in Australia. Furthermore, there is a strong, positive relationship between the survival of threatened marsupials and their geographical overlap with high-density dingo populations (Fisher, Isaac and Johnson, 2007). Claridge and Hunt (2008) agree and continue to state that studies have shown dingo predation to have a negligible effect on conservation statuses of other threatened and endangered Australian species such as the northern bettong. However, Johnson and Wroe (2006) argue that it was the introduction of the dingo approximately 4000 years ago that led to the extinction of vertebrates on the Australian mainland such as the thylacine, the Tasmanian devil and the Tasmanian native hen. This is confirmed by a theory that states, “Predators can impose strong selective pressures on species that evolved in the predators’ absence and drive species to extinction,” …show more content…

Rose (2000) explains how the dingo is beneficial to indigenous Australians not only spiritually but also practically as they can serve as protectors, guardians and warning indicators of an imminent, dangerous, natural occurrence. Nevertheless, Smith and Litchfield (2009) claim negative effects of coexisting with dingoes include disruption to the indigenous Australians’ atypical camp lifestyle, stolen food supplies and potential introductions of diseases. Burns and Howard (2003) affirm negative effects of dingo interaction with humans and further demonstrate the danger by referring to seven instances in which dingoes have attacked humans and two instances where they have killed humans. This list included the notorious case in 1980 of Azaria Chamberlain whose mother pleaded innocence to the suspected murder of her daughter on the grounds that “a dingo ate [her] baby,” and after another fatal attack of a young boy in 2001, a Government-issued dingo culling was ordered and then revoked shortly afterwards. However, it is argued that the presence of dingoes is beneficial to modern-day European Australians as not only friendly companionship animals and revenue-generators as tourist attractions on

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