A dog is a man’s (and a woman’s) best friend

 I am expanding further into the bloggoshere and am now writing for “The Dead Roo”  http://www.deadroo.com/

This is something I wrote for the Roo……..

The ABC presently has a news story “Dingoes touted as wildlife’s saviour”  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/12/1976539.htm

a quote from the article…….

“Dingoes should be reintroduced into large tracts of Australian sheep grazing country to control feral animals that would otherwise threaten native fauna, a wildlife expert says.

Professor Chris Dickman, of the Institute of Wildlife Research at the University of Sydney, also says it may be time to consider pulling down the dingo fence that was built in the 1880s to keep dingoes from livestock in south-east Australia.

About 15 years ago I was talking to an old Aboriginal woman in Mareeba about Lindy Chamberlaine and her baby’s death. The old lady was sure that Lindy had killed her own baby because, she said, dingoes don’t behave like that. She then recounted some stories of her 70 odd years of living in the bush. “Dingoes stay on the edge of the camp, they don’t come in” she said.

Lindy has been cleared in court and the dingoes on Fraser Island are proving that they do enter camps. I have no doubt that the old lady had a better understanding of dingoes than most. But it seems that the behaviour of dingoes has changed.

In the old days dingoes would hang around Aboriginal camps, being fed with scraps and consequently playing a cleaning role around the camp. They had no need to enter the camp as the camp’s rubbish provided what they wanted. Dingoes hanging around the camp also scared snakes away and some were trained as hunting dogs. The dingo ecology was symbiotic with human ecology and society, as are all dogs – “man’s best friend”.

But there are no longer a lot of people camping in the bush. The dingoes have become lonely and deprived of a traditional source of food. The general degradation of the bush also means there is less prey for the dingoes, so they have to improvise. They raid tourist campsites, attack livestock and they desperately seek anything they can get feed anywhere they can get it.

I find it an irony that park management in places like Fraser Island insist that people do not feed dingoes to discourage them associating humans with food. Dingoes aren’t stupid, they know where there are humans, there is food. The ecological thing to do would be to feed them so they don’t attack sheep or terrorise tourists.

The modern dingoe story is just another part of the Terra Nullius myth that refuses to acknowledge that human society has always been a key feature of the Australian bush and eco-systems. It is an illusion to believe that all the plants and other animals existed independently from human impact in the past, just as it is an illusion to expect the bush ecology to regenerate or even survive without human beings again inhabiting the forests and deserts and managing the land.

See also “Terra Nullius and Ecology”          http://www.kalkadoon.org/index.php/2006/03/27/terra-nullius-and-ecology/

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