As a result of an inaugural national dingo meeting in Cairns on Friday and Saturday, individuals from First Nations communities all around the country have made a plea for an immediate end to the use of lethal dingo control.
The phrase “lethal control should never be an option” is included in a national dingo declaration signed by representatives from over 20 different First Nations communities.
“The killing of dingoes is not something that we support, and we never have in the past.” To kill a dingo is to murder a member of their family. According to the statement, “We demand an immediate stop to this ‘management’ across Australia.”
Dingoes are genetically, anatomically, and behaviorally distinct from domestic dogs, and as such, they should not be treated in the same manner.
As a result of fresh scientific study indicating that the majority of dingoes are genetically pure, dozens of scientists addressed letters to the governments of fresh South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia last month, urging them to revise their policy towards dingoes. This led to the formation of the consensus statement.
“The dingo is a cultural icon representing a vital connection to Country whose significance cannot be put into words,” states the statement. “The dingo’s” significance cannot be adequately expressed in words.
“Dingoes continue to play an important role in the day-to-day lives of individuals from First Nations communities, acting as companions, hunting partners, guardians, and members of families. They have been through the same atrocities that we have and are on the same journey as us.
Although dingoes are considered to be native species in every jurisdiction on the mainland of Australia, they are nonetheless subject to lethal control actions in some national parks. These activities include trapping as well as shooting from the air and the ground.
Sonya Takau, who works as a communications officer for Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, stated that the Act does not appreciate the opinions of indigenous peoples or the cultural values and rights of indigenous peoples.
Girringun Aboriginal Corporation acts as a representative for the interests of nine traditional owner groups across far north Queensland. This organization was responsible for organizing the national First Nations dingo symposium.
“Over the course of the weekend, history was written,” Takau stated. “We’ve made a very serious declaration to the government, and we hope that they will commence communication with us and bring us to the table with other stakeholders so that we can have our say.”
“We recognize that farmers, especially those who raise sheep and goats, may be concerned about protecting their livestock from dingoes, and we offer our sympathies to those farmers. “However, we want to adopt readily available non-lethal solutions alongside landholders so that we can work together,” Takau added.
“There are landholders in Australia and overseas that have had a great deal of success protecting their livestock from predators using guardian animals in paddocks, such as maremmas.”
In the national statement, there is support for a “caring for dingoes on country model,” which integrates evidence-based practice with indigenous ways of knowing and doing things.
“We want our rights to have our opinion heard and the ability to apply our culture in any and all situations involving the dingo. It asserts that as Traditional Custodians, “we have the right to be directly involved in decision-making in any and all legislation and management actions that impact dingoes, and that this right extends to all levels of government.”
The national proclamation was referred to as “a watershed moment for dingoes” by Professor Euan Ritchie, an ecologist at Deakin University and a member of the Biodiversity Council.
“For far too much time, the perspectives and worries of people from First Nations have been pushed to the background. According to Ritchie, who was present at the conference, “this powerful declaration makes it very clear that we as a country must change management and policy in order to better recognize the cultural importance of dingoes.”
“Dingoes, as Australia’s largest land-based predators other than people, are essential for keeping the country healthy. However, as the proclamation demonstrates, they are also essential to physical as well as emotional well-being of the people of the First Nations.