HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN DINGO
FACT: The dingo and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were the first placental mammalian predators to inhabit this land of marsupials. They have lived and adapted in harmony with Australian flora and fauna for thousands of years.
FACT: Current fossil evidence points to at least 5,000 years of colonisation in Australia by this resilient wild canid. Molecular work is confirming at least this time line. It is possible that the coming of the dingo coincides with the last great flood, which raised sea levels, and created the separation of previously much closer landmasses around 9,000 years ago.
FICTION: It has been widely assumed and reported that the dingo came with man on some sort of sea vessel but this must be challenged, as long haul sea vessels have only been known for hundreds, not thousands of years. It is equally possible that the introduction of the first large placental mammal – other than human beings – to Australia, occurred under natural circumstances.
With heaps of socialisation work and handling from a very early stage of life, a sensitive dingo may bond to its immediate family and appear “tame”.
However, it is rare for a dingo to accept strangers or to be secure outside of its home environment, to which it also bonds. Dingoes are NEVER actively aggressive towards humans. They will always flee before confrontation, but will protect their partner or young with courage. They do not bark, but will howl melodically. They are driven by annual breeding seasons governed by circadian rhythms.
FACT: Europeans have done a great job of exterminating both, as well as dozens of other native species, in a mere 200-odd years. Australia’s record is the worlds worst. In an age where we are inundated with many environmental issues, the time to make urgent amends is now. One way is to protect our top predators, such as our dingoes, which act as buffers against issues like climate change, pollution and habitat loss.