Open Letter: Public coverage in South Australia relating to dingoes

08 August 2023

The Honourable Dr Susan Shut MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Local weather, Atmosphere and Water, South Australia

The Honourable Claire Scriven MLC, Minister for Main Industries and Regional Growth, South Australia

Expensive Ministers,

In gentle of recent genetic analysis on the identification of ‘wild canines’ and dingoes throughout Australia, the undersigned want to specific concern with present South Australia Authorities coverage relating to the administration and conservation of dingoes. Superior DNA analysis on dingoes has demonstrated that dingo-dog hybridisation is far much less frequent than thought, that almost all DNA examined dingoes had little home canine ancestry and that earlier DNA testing incorrectly recognized many dingoes as hybrids (Cairns et al. 2023). We’ve severe considerations in regards to the menace present South Australian public coverage poses to the survival of the ‘Huge Desert’ dingo inhabitants present in Ngarkat Conservation Park and surrounding areas.

We urge the South Australian Authorities to:

  • Revoke the requirement that every one landholders comply with minimal baiting requirements, together with natural producers or these not experiencing inventory predation. Particularly

    1. Dingoes in Ngarkat Conservation park (Area 4) shouldn’t be destroyed or subjected to floor baiting and trapping each 3 months. The Ngarkat dingo inhabitants is a singular and remoted lineage of dingo that’s threatened by inbreeding and low genetic variety. Dingoes are a local species and all native species needs to be protected inside nationwide parks and conservation areas.
    2. Landholders shouldn’t be required to hold out floor baiting on land if there is no such thing as a livestock predation occurring. Moreover, landholders needs to be supported to undertake non-lethal instruments and techniques to mitigate the chance of livestock predation together with using livestock guardian animals, that are typically incompatible with floor and aerial 1080 baiting.

  • Revoke permission for aerial baiting of dingoes (incorrectly known as “wild canines”) in all Pure Useful resource Administration areas – together with inside nationwide parks. Native animals needs to be protected in nationwide parks and conservation areas.
  • Stop using inappropriate and deceptive language to label dingoes as “wild canines”. Continued use of the time period “wild canines” shouldn’t be culturally respectful to First Nations peoples and isn’t evidence-based.
  • Proactively interact with First Nations peoples relating to the administration of culturally vital species like dingoes. For instance, the Wotjobaluk nation needs to be included in session relating to the administration of dingoes in Ngarkat Conservation Park.

Modifications in South Australia public coverage are justified primarily based on genetic analysis by Cairns et al. (2023) that overturns earlier misconceptions in regards to the genetic standing of dingoes. It demonstrates:

  1. Most “wild canines” DNA examined in arid and distant components of Australia had been dingoes with no proof of canine ancestry. There’s sturdy proof that dingo-dog hybridisation is unusual, with firstcross dingo-dog hybrids and feral canines not often being noticed within the wild. In Ngarkat Conservation park none of DNA examined animals had proof of home canine ancestry, all had been ‘pure’ dingoes.
  2. Earlier DNA testing strategies misidentified pure dingoes as being blended. All earlier genetic surveys of untamed dingo populations used a restricted 23-marker DNA check. That is the strategy at the moment utilized by NSW Division of Main Industries, which DNA assessments samples from NSW Native Land Companies, Nationwide Parks and Wildlife Service, and different state authorities businesses. Comparisons of DNA testing strategies discover that the 23-marker DNA check ceaselessly misidentified animals as dingo-dog hybrids. Current information of dingo ancestry throughout South Australia, notably from Ngarkat Conservation park is wrong; coverage must be primarily based on up to date genetic surveys.
  3. There are a number of dingo populations in Australia. Excessive-density genomic knowledge recognized greater than 4 wild dingo populations in Australia. In South Australia there are not less than two dingo populations current: West and Huge Desert. The West dingo inhabitants was noticed in northern South Australia, but in addition extends south of the dingo fence. The Huge Desert inhabitants extends from Ngarkat Conservation park in South Australia into the Huge Desert and Wyperfield area of Victoria.
  4. The Ngarkat Dingo inhabitants is threatened by low genetic variability. Preliminary proof from excessive density genomic testing of dingoes in Ngarkat Conservation park and increasing into western Victoria discovered proof of restricted genetic variability which is a severe conservation concern. Dingoes in Ngarkat and western Victoria had extraordinarily low genetic variability and no proof of gene move with different dingo populations, demonstrating their efficient isolation. This proof means that the Ngarkat (and western Victorian) dingo inhabitants is threatened by inbreeding and genetic isolation. Continued culling of the Ngarkat dingo inhabitants will exacerbate the low genetic variability and threatens the persistence of this inhabitants.

It is very important emphasise the significance of dingoes in South Australian ecosystems. Dingoes are the only real non-human land-based high predator on the Australian mainland. Their significance to the ecological well being and resilience of Australian ecosystems can’t be overstated, from regulating wild herbivore abundance (e.g., numerous kangaroo species), to lowering the impacts of feral mesopredators (cats, foxes) on native marsupials (Johnson & VanDerWal 2009; Wallach et al. 2010; Brook et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2013; Newsome et al. 2015; Morris & Letnic 2017; Geary et al. 2018; Mitchell et al. 2023). Deadly management of dingoes in South Australia facilitates inhabitants will increase in mesopredator (cat and fox) and herbivore (kangaroos, feral goats, feral pigs, and many others.) populations which can be at the moment managed as pests. Lots of South Australia’s threatened mammals nonetheless hold on in areas the place dingoes are current and continued baiting of dingoes is more likely to set off trophic cascades that will likely be detrimental to their persistence.

Over the previous twenty years, ecological analysis in Australian ecosystems, and elsewhere on this planet, has more and more demonstrated the significance of conserving medium- to large-sized predators for ecosystem well being and the preservation of biodiversity. Diminishing predator populations are typically related to ecosystem instability and native species decline. The extinction of a various suite of huge carnivorous marsupials hundreds of years in the past (and the more moderen native and practical extinctions of quoll species throughout a lot of Australia) has already simplified the construction of wildlife communities in Australia. The dingo is a keystone species that advantages small animals and plant communities by suppressing and altering the behaviours of mammalian herbivores and smaller predators (together with launched foxes and feral cats) (Johnson & VanDerWal 2009; Wallach et al. 2010; Brook et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2013; Newsome et al. 2015; Morris & Letnic 2017; Geary et al. 2018). Their presence provides a stabilising affect and gives ecosystem resilience for species solely present in Australia.

Deadly management of dingoes to minimise livestock predation needs to be focused, evidence-based, and balanced in opposition to the necessity to keep ecological resilience and animal welfare. There’s appreciable proof that haphazard, broad-scale baiting can improve livestock predation (Allen & Gonzalez 1998; Allen 2015). Modelling additionally means that the presence of dingoes can in actual fact improve livestock income by lowering the density of competing kangaroo populations (Prowse et al. 2015). Livestock producers needs to be assisted with the assistance of PIRSA to hunt different inventory safety strategies akin to electrical fencing, livestock guardian animals, modifications to animal husbandry, and many others., earlier than resorting to deadly management. On the steadiness of scientific proof, safety of native dingoes in Australian landscapes needs to be enhanced somewhat than diminished. Landholders needs to be supported to hunt new measures of inventory safety.

Inappropriate use of the time period “wild canine” when referring to dingoes

It is very important make clear to the South Australian Authorities that continued use of the terminology ‘wild canine’ shouldn’t be justified as a result of wild canids in Australia are dingoes and excessive conservation worth dingo backcrosses, not feral home canines. Utilizing the time period “wild canine” misleads the general public in regards to the identification of animals being killed in South Australia, implying that the animals focused are invasive pests when in actual fact they’re native predators (Smith et al. 2019). Neither is utilizing the time period “wild canine” respectful of the excessive worth and significance of dingoes to many First Nations peoples throughout Australia.

Moreover, it isn’t correct to confer with dingoes, or dingo backcrosses, as invasive species. Dingoes are a local species in response to all Australian federal and state laws. Previous to European arrival dingoes had been current throughout the whole Australian mainland. A local species can’t be invasive inside their very own pure vary. Whereas feral canines is perhaps thought of an invasive species, in depth genetic surveys point out that home canines haven’t established free-living populations in Australia, so they’re unlikely to be a precedence for invasive species administration.

Motion: South Australian public coverage and laws ought to undertake use of the time period dingo to confer with animals that are both pure or majority dingo ancestry and feral canine to confer with free-ranging or roaming home canines. This shift in terminology aligns with calls from Australian First Nations individuals to acknowledge and respect dingoes as a local and culturally vital species.

Eradication of dingoes shouldn’t be culturally acceptable or acceptable

The present public coverage of the South Australian Authorities to eradicate dingoes south of the dingo fence shouldn’t be culturally acceptable nor acceptable. Regardless of acknowledging the vital position that dingoes play in Indigenous tradition, public coverage seeks to eradicate dingoes from all landholdings (non-public, public or underneath native title) south of the dingo fence. This biased concentrating on of dingoes south of the fence instantly threatens a singular inhabitants of South Australian dingoes present in Ngarkat Conservation park, which extends into western Victoria the place dingoes are a listed threatened species. Surveys of the general public recommend that deadly administration of dingoes shouldn’t be extensively supported (van Eeden et al. 2019, 2020) and doesn’t match with society expectations to guard and preserve the pure atmosphere. There’s restricted proof that the South Australian Authorities has actively and meaningfully engaged with First Nations peoples relating to the administration of dingoes, particularly south of the dingo fence.

Motion: We ask that the South Australian Authorities enact measures to guard and preserve dingo populations throughout public lands, balancing the necessity to mitigate dangers to livestock with conserving dingoes throughout the panorama. An important step the Authorities may take can be to introduce a moratorium on aerial and floor 1080 baiting, trapping and capturing packages concentrating on ‘wild canines’ in Nationwide Parks and conservation areas. Extra energetic engagement with First Nations peoples south of the dingo fence needs to be a precedence.

Present South Australian “wild canine” public coverage shouldn’t be proof primarily based

Whereas present South Australian Authorities coverage recognises the ecological and cultural significance of dingoes north of the dingo fence, it goals to eradicate all dingoes south of the dingo fence together with in Ngarkat Conservation Space. Necessary baiting densities/frequencies (south of the dingo fence) and use of aerial baiting shouldn’t be in step with scientific information of the significance of sustaining wholesome dingo populations throughout the panorama for ecosystem resilience. Dingoes present a web profit to landholders (notably these with cattle) by suppressing kangaroo, pig, wombat and goat abundance (Pople et al. 2000; Letnic & Koch 2010; Letnic et al. 2012; Allen 2014, 2015; Moseby et al. 2019), thereby rising pasture productiveness (Prowse et al. 2015). Dingoes solely pose a marginal threat to cattle and baiting has been noticed to extend calf losses (Allen & Gonzalez 1998). The online productiveness and ecosystem advantages of dingoes considerably outweigh the chance that dingoes pose to livestock; dangers that may be managed with acceptable animal husbandry practices, non-lethal measures (i.e., livestock guardian animals and electrical fencing) or focused deadly management (capturing and trapping).

Motion: Re-allocate funding for deadly management packages concentrating on dingoes in Nationwide Parks and conservation areas to help major producers instantly with the impacts of dingoes together with using skilled trappers to focus on downside animals, training of landholders about using livestock guardian animals (van Bommel & Johnson 2012, 2023) anand the availability of funding alternatives for landholders to enhance livestock fencing, husbandry, undertake predator good deterrents and safety measures on non-public land as a part of Predator Good Farming (Boronyak et al. 2023; Boronyak and Jacobs, 2023).


We strongly urge the Minister to rethink present public coverage relating to dingoes in South Australia and to guard a susceptible dingo inhabitants in Ngarkat Conservation Park. We additionally urge the Minister to undertake public coverage regarding the dingo that affirms their standing as a local species, together with the event of a conservation technique that preserves and protects dingoes within the South Australian panorama. On the steadiness of scientific proof, moral reasoning and society-wide expectations, safety of dingoes needs to be enhanced somewhat than diminished.


  1. Dr Kylie M Cairns, Analysis Fellow, Faculty of Organic, Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of New South Wales
  2. Professor Mike Letnic, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Faculty of Organic, Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of New South Wales
  3. Dr Bradley Smith, Senior Lecturer,  Scientific Director, Australian Dingo Basis, Faculty of Well being, Medical and Utilized Sciences, Central Queensland College
  4. Mr Rob Appleby, Centre for Planetary Well being and Meals Safety, Griffith College
  5. Ms Zali Jestrimski, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, College of Sydney
  6. Mr Kevin D Newman, Quantitative and Utilized Ecology Group, Faculty of Agriculture, Meals and Ecosystem Sciences, College of Melbourne
  7. Dr Barry Traill, AM, Unbiased Zoologist
  8. Dr Jack Tatler, East Coast Ecology
  9. Affiliate Professor Justin W Adams, Director, 3D Innovation and Design (3DID) Studio, Head, Built-in Morphology and Palaeontology (IMAP) Laboratory, Centre for Human Anatomy Schooling, Division of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash College
  10. Dr Daniel Hunter, The Pure Historical past Unit 
  11. Affiliate Professor Melanie Fillios, Director of Place Primarily based Schooling and Analysis, Faculty of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, College of New England
  12. Dr Loukas Koungoulos, Faculty of Asia and the Pacific, Australian Nationwide College
  13. Professor Euan Ritchie, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin College
  14. Affiliate Professor Georgette Leah Burns, Faculty of Atmosphere and Science, Centre for Planetary Well being and Meals Safety, Griffith College
  15. Professor Chris Johnson, Professor of Wildlife Conservation, Faculty of Pure Sciences, College of Tasmania
  16. Dr Holly Sitters, Honorary Analysis Fellow, Faculty of Agriculture, Meals and Ecosystem Sciences, College of Melbourne
  17. Professor Chris Dickman FAA, FRZS, Desert Ecology Analysis Group, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, The College of Sydney
  18. Professor Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Matthew Flinders Professor of World Ecology, World Ecology | Partuyarta Ngadluku Wardli Kuu, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Flinders College
  19. Dr Neil Jordan, Senior Lecturer & Deputy Director (Analysis), Centre for Ecosystem Science, Faculty of Organic, Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of New South Wales
  20. Affiliate Professor Mathew Crowther, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, The College of Sydney
  21. Dr Louise Boronyak, Affiliate, Institute for Sustainable Futures, College of Know-how Sydney
  22. Dr Gabriel Conroy, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, Know-how and Engineering, College of the Sunshine Coast
  23. Dr Damian Morrant, CEO & Principal Ecologist, Biosphere Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd. 
  24. Dr Angela Wardell-Johnson, Environmental Sociologist, Editorial Board for Conservation Biology, Dwelling within the lands of the Djiringanj & Thaua of the Yuin Nation, Merimbula
  25. Dr Linda van Brommel, Faculty of Pure Sciences, College of Tasmania


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