Cautious and highly adaptable, the dingo is Australia’s largest terrestrial predator. It can live in our deserts, grasslands, forests and even urban environments so long as there is water.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Lyn Watson (pictured at right with writer Amanda Burdon) has made dingo conservation her life’s work. She has run the Australian Dingo Discovery and Research Centre, just outside Melbourne, for the past 30 years and taught alpine dingo, Snapple, 23 commands.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Visitors to the Australian Dingo Discovery and Research Centre learn about the extraordinary joint flexibility, senses, intelligence and ecology of dingoes during educational open days. Everything about the animal is designed for survival.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    A dingo pup is fully grown at seven months and can live for up to 10 years in the wild or 15 years in captivity. Natural instincts – for hunting and asserting authority – emerge early. Even at eight weeks old pups will compete for insects and grubs.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Two dingo pups play at the Australian Dingo Discovery and Research Centre.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Wild dog controller Jim Benton downloads images from a remote-sensing camera in the East Gippsland, Victoria. This information helps him to determine where to set traps, to protect livestock from dog attacks.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Mist veils a valley in Victoria’s East Gippsland, where bounties have recently been reintroduced in an effort to control wild dog numbers. 

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Farmers suspend wild dog scalps like trophies on a popular road outside Omeo, in Victoria. Stock losses have forced some property owners out of sheep grazing altogether.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Custodian of Mt Willoughby station, Antikarinya elder Bill Lennon, respects dingoes as totems of his people. His grandparents, who worked as shepherds, kept them as pets.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Baiting for wild dogs is essential to protect his cattle, according to Wintinna Station owner Jake Fennell. “We bait every month to create a chemical barrier around our place,” he says.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    In most states and territories wild dogs are declared a pest and land managers are required to control them, mostly by seasonal baiting with the poison 1080.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    In South Australia the dingo fence stretches some 2200km from the Nullarbor to the New South Wales border. Dingoes were so abundant that some 500,000 bonuses were paid for dog scalps in the 14 years up to 1935.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Maintaining his 321km stretch of the dingo fence either side of Coober Pedy, in South Australia, is a dream role for Allan Walton. “You hear them howling at night in the distance,” he says.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Pet dingo Steve, of Coober Pedy, is one tough customer. He’s been run over, electrocuted and impounded six times. But when his owner, Jo Tippett, was hospitalised for seven months he never left the house.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Photographer Jason Edwards and his son Will enjoy meeting some rambunctious dingo pups at the Australian Dingo Discovery and Research Centre. Unlike dogs, dingoes do not bark; they howl instead.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

    Jason and Will are bowled over by the dingo pups.

    Photo Credit: Jason Edwards

GALLERY: Dingo – pest, endangered species or both?

By AG STAFF | December 15, 2016

Australia’s ‘native’ dog, the dingo, is loved or loathed, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. To Indigenous people they are a revered totem; to graziers they are public enemy number one, while some scientists see them as an environmental saviour. Dingoes often find themselves in no-man’s land. Read more in Amanda Burdon’s feature on the place of the dingo in Australia – and see more of Jason Edward’s stunning shots – in AG#136.