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  • Writer's pictureIan

Dingo (Canis familiaris)

We saw the dingo (Canis familiaris) from our wildlife camera. He sauntered along the path we had made through the bush. He turned left at the camera probably heading towards the house which should have made us a little more wary than it did.

It isn't the first time we have seen dingos on Istari. I have seen them here from the mid 1980s when I first bought the land. They seem to have little fear and when they look at you it feels like they are looking into your soul. They have a distinctive gait. They can turn their head more than a dog and so when looking at you while walking by, they can keep their gaze on you and continue moving forward turning their head. It is an amazing experience.

We were excited to see this dingo. This is the apex predator in the Australian bush and is welcome on Istari. Unfortunately they are not welcome by all people in the bush. This particular animal seemed to have the look of an older dingo and we found him to be very smart.

Dingos are different to feral dogs who like domestic dogs are descended from Grey Wolf (Canis lupus). They came to Australia thousands of years ago probably from Asia to our north. They behave differently to domesticated dogs too. Although they can bark they don't usually but will howl. What a sound! They will remove feral cats and foxes and even feral pigs so they play an extremely important role in the bush.

They also enjoy chicken when they can get it. See our 'Letter from Istari' for more on the story of the chickens.

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