Dingoes are becoming the tool of conservationists in Queensland, Australia, who want a herd of goats put to death.
The dingoes will be released on an island where the non-native goats have been left to overpopulate.
— Andrew Picone (@andrew_picone) July 28, 2016
The goats are destroying the ecosystem, by eating and trampling the vegetation. Having no natural predators to control them, the goats have been free to reproduce since they were first planted on the island in 1787.
The British government had taken to dumping their criminals in Australia, as they said it was far enough away and inaccessible, and nobody really lived there except for “savages.”
However, sailing was difficult through the area due to the treacheries offered by the Great Barrier Reef. So officers decided to leave a herd of goats to help feed lighthouse keepers and shipwrecked sailors, according to Earth In Transition.
The island, called Pelorus, has been in a quandary about the goats for some time.
Ramon Jayo, the mayor of Hinchinbrook Shire, of which Pelorus Island is a part, said that methods of killing the goats included trapping them, shooting them on the ground, shooting them from the air.
“So when the boys came up with this idea we just thought, ‘Well that’s perfect.'”
The dingoes are also not native to Pelorus Island. But the team has solved that problem by outfitting the animals with collars carrying a time-released poison.
In Australia, a dingo is regarded in much the same way as wolves and coyotes are in America: They are threatening predators, pests to be exterminated.
The plan is to drop four dingoes onto the island and allow them to hunt and kill the goats.
Once the goats have all been consumed, the team will hunt and kill the dingoes.
Should they not succeed in the dingo hunt, the poison will take effect after two years.
Matthew Buckman, chief pest officer and coordinator of the project, said there were many positive aspects to the idea.
“We’re gonna protect so many of these islands long-term. Once this one’s successful, it’ll set the platform for many other island managers to follow through and to carry out similar projects.”
— Australia (@Australia) July 26, 2016
Naturally, animal rights activists are in an uproar over the dingoes. They say the plan is cruel and have started a CareTo petition to try to help save the dingoes. It contains a letter to Jim Thompson, Chief Biosecurity Officer, and Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland.
“Inserting dingoes with a deadly capsule containing 1080 poison, is unethical. It will doom the dingoes to an agonizing death, after using them simply as a pest control unit. The level of cynical cruelty and exploitation of the dingoes is reprehensible and completely unethical, now proposed to be used as a conservation model globally.
“Australians believe that our wildlife should be protected as our national heritage; that wildlife has an intrinsic value in our environment. This experiment promoted as ‘Conservation/Rewilding’ is unethical and it is disturbing that a major public institution, the University of Queensland, is now involved in promoting this scheme for further world projects using our native dingoes.
“This is a new low in treatment of animals both the dingoes and the goats this experiment.”
The site Ban 1080 states that the poison is a metabolic poison that is extremely toxic. It creates a slow death by blocking the body’s muscle and organs’ ability to absorb energy from food. After ingesting 1080, it takes birds eight- to 24-hours to die. Large mammals, such as the dingoes, would take two to four days to die. There is no known antidote.
The petition was started on Saturday and has amassed 15000 supporters so far.
[Photo by Russell McPhedran/AP]