Lost pup in Australia turns out to be a rare purebred dingo

SYDNEY: He's furry, playful, and has puppy eyes. It's little wonder Wandi was mistaken for a dog when he was found in an Australian backyard – but DNA testing has confirmed he's a rare 100 per cent dingo.

The pup was discovered whimpering and alone in a country town in Victoria in August with talon marks on his back, leading to speculation it could have been dropped by a large bird of prey.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Rescuers at first thought Wandi was either a dog or a fox, but months later DNA samples have revealed that he is in fact a purebred dingo.

Most of the creatures seen in the wild are usually, to some degree, dingo-dog hybrids.

Wandi was found whimpering in a rural back yard with talon marks on his back, leading to speculation he may have been dropped by a bird of prey AFP/Shari TRIMBLE

Australian Dingo Foundation director Lyn Watson said that when Wandi "fell out of the sky" it was an "answer to a prayer" – he can now join 40 other dingoes in a breeding program at the charity's sanctuary.

Advertisement

Advertisement

"When we sent his DNA off we were hoping that he would be of high content, but we were pleasantly surprised to find he was as much dingo as you could get," she told AFP.

Watson hopes Wandi – whose unusual origins story and endearing looks have attracted global attention – will help recast the narrative surrounding dingoes and change government policies toward the much-maligned animal.

There is currently much debate in the scientific community over the classification of dingoes, believed to have come to Australia from Asia about 4,000 years ago.

While some consider the dingo to be a wild dog, many researchers now believe it is a separate species with a range of characteristics that differentiate it from domestic and feral canines.

The discovery after DNA testing that Wandi is 100 per cent purebred dingo has given experts new hope for the maligned species. Most dingoes in the wild are dingo-dog hybrids AFP/Shari TRIMBLE

Often thought of as a threat to domestic animals and livestock, some also argue the apex predator is helpful in controlling pests such feral cats and foxes, as well as numbers of native herbivores such as kangaroos.

This uncertainty has major consequences for the conservation of dingoes.

The species is protected in areas where it is considered a threatened species vulnerable to extinction, but elsewhere listed as a pest that can be controlled through measures such as shooting aRead More – Source