PETITION TARGETS: Environment and Agriculture Ministers for New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia
Dingoes are being baited, gunned down from the sky, and shot on public land — including in national parks — in Australia in cruel, indiscriminate massacres that ecologists, indigenous people, and researchers say must stop.
Dingoes are classified as “endangered” and government-protected in many Australian states, including Victoria. But “wild dogs” — or dingo and dog hybrids — are considered pests, with laws allowing people to eradicate them using vicious methods including baiting and trapping and some states even offering cruel bounties for their body parts.
The problem — besides the fact that no animal should ever be so cruelly killed — is that it’s basically impossible by a glance alone to tell the difference between a dingo and a wild dog, according to biodiversity experts and even agriculture departments. And now, new research shows that a majority of the animals formerly deemed “pests” actually show DNA evidence of being genetically-pure, native dingoes who lawfully require protection.
The research, published in the scientific journal Molecular Ecology, notes that states have relied on faulty dingo data. Victoria, for example, previously estimated that only about 4 to 18 percent of canids spotted were dingoes, whereas the DNA testing projects about 87 percent of them are.
The brutal massacres have deeply outraged First Nations people, with more than 20 indigenous groups recently signing a declaration that dingoes — known to the Wotjobaluk Nations as wilkerr — have significant cultural and spiritual importance to them.
“Killing dingoes is killing family,” the declaration said in part. “We do not give you permission to kill wilkerr, and we never did.”
Multiple scientific studies already have established that indiscriminate killing of apex predators — such as dingoes — disrupts natural ecosystems, and that predators have their own important roles to play that can benefit other wildlife.
It’s time for the brutal killings to stop.
Sign our petition urging the environment and agriculture ministers of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia to prioritize non-lethal, evidence-based practices and traditional knowledge on how to coexist with dingoes.