Nearly all stray dogs in Australia are genetically more than half the dingoes, a new study led by UNSW Sydney suggests – showing that lethal measures to control the ‘feral dog’ population primarily target dingoes.
That’s not my name: 99 percent of wild canines in Australia are pure dingo or dingo dominant hybrids, but they are labeled as ‘feral dogs’. Image Credit: Chontelle Burns / Nouveau Rise Photography.
Study published today at Australian mammals, collecting results from more than 5000 stray dog DNA samples from across the country, making it the largest and most comprehensive dingo dataset to date.
The team found that 99 percent of the wild canines tested were either pure dingo or a dingo-dominant hybrid (that is, a hybrid dog with more than 50 percent of the dingo gene).
Of the remaining 1 percent, roughly half are dog-dominant hybrid dogs and half are feral dogs.
We don’t have a stray dog problem in Australia. They do not form in the wild. There are rare times when a dog may go into the bush, but that doesn’t contribute significantly to the dingo population.
Dr Kylie Cairns, Lead Study Author and Conservation Biologist, UNSW Science
The study builds on a 2019 paper by the team which found that the vast majority of wild canines in NSW are either pure dingo or dingo dominant hybrids. The more recent paper looked at DNA samples from previous studies across Australia, including more than 600 previously unpublished data samples.
Pure dingoes – dingo with no detectable canine breed – constituted 64 percent of the wild canines tested, while the additional 20 percent were at least three-quarters of the dingoes.
The findings challenge the view that pure dingoes are nearly extinct in the wild – and call into question the widespread use of the term ‘feral dog’.
“‘Feral dog’ is not a scientific term – it’s a euphemism,” said Dr. Cairns.
“Dingoes are native to Australia, and a lot of people don’t like the idea of using lethal controls on native animals.
“The term ‘stray dog’ is often used in government legislation when talking about controlling lethal dingo populations.”
The terminology used to refer to a species can influence our basic attitudes about them, especially when it comes to native and culturally important animals.
This language can contribute to other misconceptions about dingo, such as the ability to judge dingo’s ancestors by the color of their coat – which can naturally be gritty, black, white, brindle, tan, patchy, or black and tan.
There is an urgent need to stop using the term ‘stray dogs’ and return to calling them dingoes. Only then can we have an open public discussion about finding a balance between dingo control and dingo conservation in the Australian bush. “
Mr Brad Nesbitt, Study Author Fellow, Adjunct Research Fellow, University of New England
Tracing the causes of hybridization
Although the study found dingo dog hybridization was not widespread in Australia, it also identified areas across the country with a dog DNA footprint higher than the national average.
Most of the hybridization takes place in south-east Australia – and particularly in areas that use long-term lethal controls, such as airborne decoy. This form of lethal control across the landscape involves dropping meat bait filled with the pesticide sodium fluoroacetate (commonly known as 1080) into the forest via helicopter or airplane.
“The pattern of hybridization is very striking now that we have the whole country to look at,” said Dr. Cairns.
“Dingo populations are more stable and intact in areas that don’t use lethal controls, such as western and northern Australia. In fact, 98 percent of the animals tested here were pure dingoes.
“But areas of countries that use long-term lethal controls, such as NSW, Victoria and southern Queensland, have higher rates of dog breeds.”
The researchers suggest that higher human densities (and in turn, higher domestic dog populations) in southeastern Australia likely played a key role in this hybridization.
But the contributing role of aerial bait – which breaks the structure of the dingo pack and allows dogs to integrate into the breeding pack – is something that can be overcome.
“If we’re going to lure the dingo population out of the air, we have to think more carefully about where and when we use these lethal controls,” he said.
“Avoiding fishing in national parks, and during the dingo’s annual breeding season, will help protect populations from future hybridization.”
Protect the ecosystem
Professor Mike Letnic, the study’s senior author and professor of conservation biology, has been researching dingo and its interactions with ecosystems for 25 years.
He said they play an important role in maintaining biodiversity and the health of ecosystems.
“As top predators, dingoes play a fundamental role in shaping the ecosystem by controlling the number of herbivores and smaller predators,” said Prof. Letnic.
“The apex predator effect can trickle down throughout an ecosystem and even extend to plants and soil.”
Prof Letnic’s previous research has shown that suppressing dingo populations can lead to growth in kangaroo numbers, impacting other ecosystems.
For example, a high kangaroo population can lead to overgrazing, which in turn destroys the soil, changes the appearance of the landscape and can jeopardize land conservation.
A study published last month found the long-term effects of these changes were so real they were visible from outer space.
Yet despite the valuable role they play in the ecosystem, dingoes are not conserved across Australia – unlike many other native species.
“Dingos are an endangered species in Victoria, so they are protected in the national park,” said Dr. Cairns. “They are not protected in NSW and many other states.”
Need for consultation
Dr Cairns, who is also scientific advisor to the Australian Dingo Foundation, said the timing of this paper was important.
“There is a large amount of funds currently being used to feed air inside the national park,” he said. “This funding is to help with forest fire recovery, but aerial feral dog baiting doesn’t target invasive animals or ‘stray dogs’ – it targets dingoes.
“We need to have a discussion about whether killing native animals – which prove to be beneficial to ecosystems – is the best way to restore ecosystems.”
Dingo is known to have a negative impact on agriculture by preying on livestock, especially sheep.
Researchers say it is important that these impacts are minimized, but how we manage these issues deserves wider consultation – including discussing nonlethal methods of protecting livestock.
There needs to be public consultation on how we can balance dingo management and conservation. The first step in having this clear and meaningful conversation is to start calling the dingoes as they are. The animal is a dingo or mostly dingoes, and there are almost no stray dogs, so it makes no sense to use the term ‘stray dog’. Time to call the shovel the shovel and the dingo the dingo. “
Dr Kylie Cairns
Banking Corp said it was considering a downturn in New Zealand’s business after regulators there ordered it to review its risk management.
Australia’s major banks said Wednesday that they are in a very early stage of their assessment and no decision has yet been taken. The lender said the impact of the risk management review, ordered by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, would be one of the considerations in his decision.
“Business continues to do well with a strong position in retail and commercial banking,” Westpac said in a statement. “However, given the changing capital requirements in New Zealand and the RBNZ requirement to structurally separate Westpac’s NZ business operations from its Australian operations, it is now appropriate to assess the best structure for this business going forward.”
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday said it ordered the Westpac unit to commission an independent report addressing concerns the central bank had revealed about the unit’s risk governance processes and practices.
“We have had ongoing compliance issues with Westpac NZ over the past few years, the last of which involved a material failure to properly report liquidity, in line with Central Bank liquidity requirements,” said Geoff Bascand, deputy central bank governor and general manager of financial stability, said in a statement. “In addition, the bank has continued to operate out of its own risk arrangement for technology for several years.”
The central bank also asked the unit to provide a separate independent report that ensures the effectiveness of actions taken to improve liquidity risk management.
It is said that it will increase the amount of liquid assets the unit must have until the central bank is satisfied with the unit’s remediation efforts. The reserve bank also said that the liquidity and funding position of the Westpac unit was currently good and the bank was well capitalized. He added that Westpac has been working to address the root causes of compliance issues related to liquidity requirements.
Westpac said it would provide further updates as needed.
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While the authorities are working on the details of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, general practitioners hope the shots will be free unless consultation is required.
Consultations are usually not required for vaccinations so most people will have them done by a nurse, said Dr Bryan Betty, medical director at New Zealand Royal College of General Practitioners.
He hopes that the time and equipment for nurses will be borne by the government.
“The understanding is that there will be no cost barrier to getting vaccinated, and this will be the hope of doctors across the country,” he told the Herald.
Vaccination for the general public is slated to begin in the second half of 2021, in what is called the largest full-scale vaccination campaign in New Zealand history.
The government has announced that Covid-19 vaccination will be free and voluntary for everyone in the country regardless of visa status.
“We have bought enough vaccines to cover all New Zealanders and are doing it for free,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.
Border workers and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) will be the first to be vaccinated starting Saturday in Auckland, followed by their household contacts.
They include cleaners, nurses performing MIQ health checks, security personnel, customs and border officials, airline staff and hotel workers.
The second group of people to receive the vaccine were health workers and essential workers in the second quarter of this year.
Responding to the Herald’s inquiries, the Ministry of Health said DHB was leading this initial launch, but that common practice will play an important role in the general public phase.
Funding arrangements will be worked out near the date and doctors will be “given the resources to do this (vaccination) in a safe and timely manner”, said a spokesman.
Whether consultation fees will be funded has not been discussed at this time, Betty said, but most vaccinations must be done once without consultation.
“In terms of immunization rollouts, I don’t think so [consultations] will be part of the funding, because that will be the decision of the patient when vaccinating, “said Betty.
The country’s first batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrived on Monday.
Manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, it is approved for use in New Zealand for people 16 years and over. Under 16 years of age were not included at this time because they were not part of the clinical trial.
New Zealand has purchase agreements for three other Covid-19 vaccines, which are made by Janssen, Noravax and AstraZeneca.
Published in 15 February 2021 21:35
The roadmap should be implemented after identifying priorities, objectives: PM
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to finalize the proposed education policy as early as possible in consultation with the province and other stakeholders to formulate a comprehensive road map in line with modern-day requirements to promote education.
Chairing meetings for education promotion, the use of technology in the education system and skilled education, he said the road map should be implemented after clearly identifying priorities and objectives.
Affirming his determination to take every possible step for the promotion of education in the country, Imran Khan said education was the government’s top priority.
Unfortunately, the focus has not been on the education sector in the past. He said the majority of Indonesia’s population consists of young people, whose potential can only be exploited by providing equal opportunities for modern education. He said it was very important to equip young people with modern education to benefit from the technological revolution.
Minister of Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood expressed his appreciation of reforms in the education sector, measures related to remote language after the Covid-19 pandemic, ranging from pilot projects related to the use of technology, initiation of Skills for All projects around the world. Pakistan, digital literacy and promotion of the knowledge economy.
Shafqat Mahmood explained at the meeting that his ministry is formulating the Pakistan Education Policy 2021 in which special emphasis is made on providing equal opportunities for quality education, promotion of modern knowledge and job creation.
Dr Atta-ur-Rehman submitted a proposal for a strategic action plan, while providing training on promotion through education, accreditation from international organizations, and capacity building for teachers.