ABSTRACT Taxonomy is the science of the classification of living things and comprises two main processes, defining taxa and naming them. In relation to the taxonomy of the Dingo, the scientific name has been unstable for many years. It has been referred to as Canis familiaris, Canis familiaris dingo, Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo or Canis dingo . The nomenclature, however, has become even more unstable in recent years with advocacy for the name Canis dingo by some authors in spite of a lack of morphological differentiation or interfertility between Dingo and Domestic Dog hybrids. As a result, there is a need to review the taxonomy of the Dingo with the aim of confirming its correct scientific name in order to promote stability. Using the most widely accepted species concepts, we reviewed the taxonomy of the Dingo by objectively dissecting each of the proposed arguments for recognising the Dingo as a distinct species. We conclude that the most appropriate taxonomic name to use for the Dingo is Canis familiaris , and that this binomial is the appropriate taxonomic name for all ancient and modern dog breeds, their hybrids and wild-living derivatives. It is important to highlight that correct taxonomy is an important part of on-ground conservation and management of wildlife. However, the taxonomy used as a basis for management decisions needs to be based on a consistent and evidence-based scientific approach and not other factors.
ABSTRACT Camera trapping has advanced significantly in Australia over the last two decades. These devices have become more versatile and the associated computer technology has also progressed dramatically since 2011. In the USA, the hunting industry drives most changes to camera traps; however the scientific fraternity has been instrumental in incorporating computational engineering, statistics and technology into camera trap use for wildlife research. New survey methods, analytical tools (including software for image processing and storage) and complex algorithms to analyse images have been developed. For example, pattern and texture analysis and species and individual facial recognition are now possible. In the next few decades, as technology evolves and ecological and computational sciences intertwine, new tools and devices will emerge into the market. Here we outline several projects that are underway to incorporate camera traps and associated technologies into existing and new tools for wildlife management. These also have significant implications for broader wildlife management and research.
ABSTRACT The temporal scale of many studies of dingo ecology is limited by human and physical resources, often constrained by funding cycles. Consequently, research has been skewed towards short-term, snapshot investigations undertaken at a spatial scale that is unrelated to dingo home range size, space use and life history. In turn, the certainty of ecological conclusions is constrained. Here we discuss the difficulties and limitations of much of the dingo research previously undertaken, including our own, and discuss the benefits of long-term data sets for elucidating ecological processes involving dingoes. We provide explanatory examples where current technological advances provide opportunities for improved monitoring and certainty around conclusions.
ABSTRACT Biophilia, our inherent love of living things, is a major driver of the modern conservation ethic worldwide. Australians are particularly fond of wildlife and consequently, our fauna are key to our national image. As a nation, we are known for our relatively carefree attitude towards some of the world's most dangerous animals, including venomous snakes and spiders, as well as sharks. This has arisen largely because we are familiar with these species, understand the actual level of risk they pose and have some idea of how to safely interact with them. Unfortunately, the relationship between Australians and our wildlife could change significantly. Canine rabies, an infamous, fatal, viral zoonosis, is now less than 300 kilometers from the Australian matiinland. We must face the possibility of a ‘when’, rather than ‘if’ scenario and begin to plan for rabies management on a continent where virtually the entire population is naïve. Human and animal health would be affected. People, domestic animals and wildlife may die. Perhaps worse, in terms of scale, is the likely change in the Australian way of life, including the way we perceive, value and interact with wildlife, pets and livestock. Of course, rabies is endemic in many other countries and people continue to actively engage in conservation programs, but these people have had a long time to come to terms with the risk in their midst and many undergo prophylactic vaccination to enable them to work with wildlife. Here, we discuss Australia's impending future with particular regard to how canine rabies could change our lives, the impacts it could have on wildlife conservation and the steps we must take to be prepared.