Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

A roadmap to meaningful dingo conservation (#476)

Ben Allen 1 , Lee Allen 2 , Guy Ballard 3 , Peter JS Fleming 4
  1. University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
  2. Biosecurity Queensland, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
  3. Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
  4. Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Orange, New South Wales, Australia

Many top-predators are declining and/or threatened, risking the loss of them and their important ecological roles. For these reasons, conservation efforts are a management priority for many species, but this is not presently the case for dingoes – the most closely related canid to grey wolves. There is strong support for dingo conservation from some sectors, but dingo conservation progress is slow, and is actively opposed by other sectors. Here, we evaluate the conservation status of Australian dingoes in accordance with the current Australian Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee Guidelines for assessing the conservation status of native species according to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000. We also use the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) species translocation guidelines to assess the value of translocation or reintroduction as suitable conservation action for dingoes. We further describe six socio-ecological facts about dingoes seldom considered in discourses advocating dingo conservation, and show that consideration of these guidelines and facts raises several substantial barriers to dingo conservation. Perhaps the most important barrier to dingo conservation is the lack of an accepted taxonomic definition for dingoes which, we show, ultimately determines the threatened status (or not) of dingoes and the acceptability (or not) of reintroduction as a suitable action for advancing dingo conservation objectives. We describe the actions required to overcome this barrier in an attempt to advance dingo conservation efforts from just ‘talking about it’ to actually ‘doing something about it’.