Roadkill of the week – Dingo, Carpentaria Highway NT
I came across this poor fellow a few hundred kilometres or so along the Carpentaria Highway while heading out to Borroloola in the NT’s wonderful Gulf country.
I’m often a bit sceptical about the value of Wikipedia as a source of information but there is a very nice Wikipedia site on the Dingo, from which this quote comes:
Dingoes play an important role in Australia’s ecosystems; they are apex predators and the continent’s largest terrestrial predator.
Because of their attacks on livestock, dingoes and other wild dogs are seen as pests by the sheep industry and the resultant control methods normally run counter to dingo conservation efforts. Today, it is estimated that the majority of the modern “dingoes” are also descended from other domestic dogs. The number of these so-called dingo hybrids has increased significantly over the last decades, and the dingo is therefore now classified as vulnerable.
Across much of the NT the “so-called hybrid” Dingoes are less evident and as i travel around the NT most of the dogs I see are pure-bred or very close to it.
The Wikipedia site has some useful information on the etymology of our native dog’s common name and the variety of names for it found in local languages:
The most common name in the colloquial language is “dingo”. This term originated in the early times of European colonization in New South Wales and is most likely derived from the word “tingo”, used by the aboriginal people of Port Jackson for their camp dogs. Depending on the area where they live, the dingoes in Australia are occasionally called alpine dingoes, desert dingoes, northern dingoes, Cape York dingoes, or tropical dingoes. In recent times people have begun to call them “Australian native dogs” or, reasoning that they are a subspecies of Canis lupus, an “Australian wolf”.
The dingo also has different names in the multitude of different Indigenous Australian languages. Those names include Joogong, Mirigung, Noggum, Boolomo, Papa-Inura, Wantibirri, Maliki, Kal, Dwer-da, Kurpany, Aringka, Palangamwari, Repeti and Warrigal Some languages provide for different names for the dingoes depending on where they live; the Yarralin, for instance, call the dingoes that live with them Walaku and the ones living in the wilderness Ngurakin.