Genetic study reveals the ancestry of Dingoes in Namadgi


A recent genetic study conducted on wild dogs in Namadgi National Park has revealed that all animals sampled had 100 per cent Dingo ancestry, with no hybridisation with feral domestic dogs.

Minister for the Environment, Parks and Land Management, Rebecca Vassarotti said the ACT Government will explore options to formally recognise the Dingo as a distinct native animal.

“For many years it was assumed that wild dogs in Namadgi National Park were not native, and that they were therefore to be managed as a feral pest species,” Minister Vassarotti said.

“Contrary to this, a recent scientific study undertaken by Dr Kylie Cairns has shown that our ‘wild dog’ animals in Namadgi National Park are in fact 100 percent Dingo.

"As a result of this research, the ACT Government will now look at exploring policy options to recognise the Dingo as a native animal protected under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 to reflect their ecological and cultural values.

“Dingoes play a crucial role in Australian ecosystems as a top order predator. They prey and scavenge on native and invasive species and may also reduce populations of introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats.

“Dingoes also hold a special place within the Ngunnawal community, representing resilience and protection. They were raised with families as an effective hunting aid and protection against invaders.

“Many First Nations communities have tracked Dingo footprints to find waterholes, food sources and neighbouring nation groups.

“When reviewing our policies, the ACT Government will consider the protections for Dingoes as native animals, recognising the strong cultural connections of First Nations people, while maintaining the ability to undertake mitigation strategies to limit attacks on rural properties that result in stock losses and emotional stress for landholders.

“Over the coming months, we will consult with key stakeholders and organisations including the Ngunnawal community and rural lessees to determine the best way forward to balance the recognition of Dingoes as a genetically distinct animal with important cultural and ecological values, and the economic and personal impact on rural producers.

“While it’s important we act to recognise Dingoes as a native species, it is equally important that we proceed with care and in consultation with our First Nations and farming communities before making any major changes to current management practices.

"I want to create a sustainable and long-term future for Dingoes in the ACT that will work for everyone.”

The ACT Government is not proposing to change the taxonomy of Dingo in the ACT at this time.

Dingoes are recognised as an ancient breed of Canis familiaris, with distinct characteristics, as displayed by other wild canids such as Papua New Guinean singing dogs also still classified as Canis familiaris.

 The taxonomy of dingoes is subject to ongoing research and debate. Recognising their distinct role in the Australian environmental and cultural landscape is a separate consideration to their taxonomy.

For more information on Wild dogs/Dingoes, visit the ACT Environment website.