ABSTRACT

As we enter an era of global mass extinctions, it is important to tackle wildlife research and conservation from multiple fronts, including those made available by wildlife organisations, zoos and sanctuaries. Captive studies are particularly useful when studying free-ranging populations is difficult, and/or when controlled conditions are required. Yet, despite the significant role that they play in supporting research and conservation of species and ecosystems, they are rarely recognised in the scientific literature. Here we present a case study of the Australian Dingo Foundation (ADF), a private organisation and captive breeding facility that actively supports research and conservation efforts relating to the dingo (Canis dingo). Over the past decade (2010 to 2020), the ADF has facilitated research across eight research disciplines that include archaeology, behaviour, biology, cognition, evolutionary psychology, non-lethal management, reproduction and parental behaviour, and vocalisations. This has resulted in at least 21 published scientific studies which are summarised in this paper. As this case study demonstrates, captive facilities have the potential to contribute to the understanding and conservation of dingoes by providing practical alternatives to, and/or supplement studies of free-ranging populations. We conclude by outlining some of the implications and limitations of conducting research using captive dingo populations.

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