Friday, February 12, 2010


This is a scan of an artist drawing of dingos in the wild. The scan was taken out of a 1919 National Geographic Magazine orginally owned by my Grand Uncle Olaf. He gave them to his sister, who in turn gave them to me in 1964. This is a leather bound group of magazines called 'volume 35'.

The native name for the animal given by the natives is warrigal, the settlers named it dingo. There was a movie, the 'Sundowners' starring Robert Mitchum and Debra Kerr as sheep herders. The movie was filmed on location in Australia and released in 1960. One could hear the howl of the wild dogs.

Wild dingos hunt in packs. They were so destructive to sheep the stockmen began a war of extermination. The government offered a bounty of five shillings for every dingo killed. Poison was also effective and the ranks were thinned until they were no longer a menace. In todays world, few if any pure breds are left.

In 1980 Azaria Chamberlain disappeared from a tent near Ayers Rock, her mother claiming that a dingo had taken the baby. Lindy Chamberlain went to prison for murder, but she was later released and exonerated after new evidence suggested that she had been telling the truth.

In 2001 two wild dingoes attacked and killed a nine year old boy at Fraser Island. The sensationalist media created a huge furore, including very graphic eyewitness testimony of the young boy being chewed...

No doubt these are horrific attacks. But is the wrath that the Australian dingo faced as a result justified? There have been three reported dingo attacks in 200 years, compared to about 14,000 reported domestic dog attacks in one year...

Some Australian states forbid that dingoes be kept as pets, some allow them. Everybody who knows dingoes as pets will tell you that they are not much different from domestic dogs. Their particular characteristics are outstanding intelligence, curiosity and playfulness. They are great with children, and are also somewhat timid and aloof.

At the time the article was published, there were several fine dingos kept in this country, Washington DC being the most typical. Alas, I did not see a listing for them, however, there are fine webcams you might enjoy! Just keyboard zoos in Washington DC.
Marvelous looking animal. MARVELOUS!

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