Trapping, shooting and poisoning: Push to protect Victorian dingoes falls short
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Dingo hunting will continue to be legal in Victoria for at least 12 months despite a push from scientists and Indigenous groups for the threatened species to be protected.
The Victorian government on Thursday said it would extend a so-called un-protection order – which allows dingoes to be shot or baited within three kilometres of private land – beyond its October 1 expiry date, while further assessments of the animal’s conservation status were undertaken.
In Victoria, the dingo is listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.Credit: Jason South
A government spokesperson said the extended period would allow for a comprehensive assessment of the dingo population across Victoria to inform appropriate protections in the future.
“We will continue to work with traditional owners, farmers and private landholders to appropriately balance the protection of livestock and dingo conservation,” the spokesperson said.
More than 25 scientists had written to Victoria’s Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt pushing for changes to dingo control policy ahead of the expiry of the un-protection order, arguing it was based on a mistaken belief that they were feral dog hybrids.
The scientists said the characterisation of dingoes as “wild dogs” was not backed by scientific evidence and that continued lethal control of Victorian dingo populations could challenge their survival.
Euan Ritchie, a professor in wildlife ecology and conservation at Deakin University, said the Victorian government’s decision to extend the order was disappointing and disrespectful.
“It essentially ignores the publicly stated wishes of First Nations peoples, including the Wotjobaluk peoples of north-west Victoria,” he said.
“This raises serious questions about how First Nations’ culture and wellbeing are recognised under law, and the status of settlement agreements in Victoria.”
Ritchie said the decision ignored scientific evidence that the Big Desert-Wyperfeld population of dingoes in Victoria was likely small and was suffering loss of genetic diversity – a consequence of habitat destruction and fragmentation and trapping, shooting and poisoning.
“We can only hope a more evidence-based, culturally appropriate and respectful, and environmentally minded decision is reached by the Victorian government in 12 months’ time,” he said.
“The longer dingoes are persecuted, the smaller and more susceptible to extinctions some of their populations may become.”
The scientists’ push was backed by First Nations groups in Victoria who say dingoes have been integral to Indigenous societies as hunting partners and spiritual relatives.
The Barengi Gadjin Land Council, which represents First Peoples custodians from across the Wimmera, Mallee and Gariwerd regions of western Victoria, were among those who signed a declaration calling for protection of dingoes across Australia.
At a forum in Cairns this month, First Nations people from more than 20 groups signed a declaration requesting to be involved in decision-making around dingo management.
Conference organiser Whitney Rassip, from the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, said First Nations people had been left out of conversations around the management of dingoes nationally.
“In too many places the standard management is still to kill and eradicate, under the pretence that so-called wild dogs are being targeted,” Rassip said.
“We appreciate that some farmers and graziers, especially sheep and goat producers, will be concerned about protection of their stock from dingoes. We would like to work with landholders to support the non-lethal solutions available to protect small livestock.”
Get the day’s breaking news, entertainment ideas and a long read to enjoy. Sign up to receive our Evening Edition newsletter.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article