Dingo – Canis Lupus Dingo
The dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a free-ranging dog found mainly in Australia. Its exact ancestry is debated, but dingoes are generally believed to be descended from semi-domesticated dogsfrom East or South Asia, which returned to a wild lifestyle when introduced to Australia. As such, it is currently classified as a subspecies of the grey wolf, Canis lupus. The Australian name has therefore sometimes been applied to similar dogs in South-East Asia, believed to be close relations. As free-ranging animals, they are not considered tame, although tame dingoes and dingo-dog hybrids have been bred.
The dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia, and plays an important role as an apex predator. However, the dingo is seen as a pest by livestock farmers due to attacks on animals. Conversely, their predation on rabbits, kangaroos and rats may be of benefit to graziers.
For many Australians, the dingo is a cultural icon. The dingo is seen by many as being responsible for thylacine extinction on the Australian mainland about two thousand years ago, although a recent study challenges this view. Dingoes have a prominent role in the culture of Aboriginal Australians as a feature of stories and ceremonies, and they are depicted on rock carvings and cave paintings.
Despite being an efficient hunter, it is listed as vulnerable to extinction. It is proposed that this is due to susceptibility to genetic pollution: a controversial concept according to which interbreeding with domestic dogs may dilute the dingo’s unique adaptations to the Australian environment.
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