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Clarification sought on dingo classification change

Terry Sim, 09/04/2024

AUSTRALIA’S Wild Dog Action Plan and the South Australian Government are seeking clarification on how classification and regulatory changes concerning the dingo in Victoria will affect control programs in the state.

According to wild dog management coordinator Greg Mifsud, Museums Victoria has updated the taxonomy of the dingo to bring it in line with the Australian Faunal Directory and the recommendations of the Australasian Mammal Taxonomy Consortium.

“This change in taxonomy within Victoria means the dingo is no longer considered a sub species of wolf (Canis lupus), but actually an ancient type of domestic dog (Canis familiaris), bringing into question the need to change the Victorian wild dog management program at all,” Mr Mifsud said.

“As the dingo is now considered a wild living dog, there is no longer a need to have special provisions for their control – they can and should be managed as wild dogs on private property without any further restrictions.

“This change in classification poses a new consideration for the Victorian Government as it reviews wild dog control in the state,” Mr Mifsud said in the latest NWDAP newsletter.

Victoria’s Wildlife Act (1975) Order In Council effectively ‘unprotected’ the dingo on private land, and on public land within 3km of the private land boundaries to public lands, enabling baiting and trapping. However, from 14 March, the Victorian Government, the dingo unprotection order concluded in north-west Victoria and will remain in place in eastern Victoria until 1 October 2024.

A Victorian Government spokesperson told Sheep Central that in Victoria, the dingo is listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 as Canis lupus dingo.

“Under Victorian law, all native animals, including dingoes, are considered protected wildlife under the Wildlife Act 1975 – regardless of taxonomy or nomenclature.”

In October 2023, the Victorian Government committed to complete a wild dog management review by October 2024. This review will include the policy and regulatory setting for the management and control of dingoes in Victoria.

Mr Mifsud said he has made numerous approaches to the Victorian Government to clarify its stance on the Museums Victoria change and he was aware South Australia’s Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven is also concerned about how Victoria’s ‘unprotection’ order change in north-west Victoria will impact wild dog management measures and incursions into South Australia.

“We have formally asked them (the Victorian Government) about what this means in terms of their management since the end of February and have had no response,” Mr Mifsud said.

Ms Scriven was quoted in the Stock Journal as saying she has written on several occasions to the Victorian Agriculture Minister Ros Spence raising concerns about the potential for the change of approach to wild dog management and the impact on SA’s livestock industry.

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