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Australian Natural History Series

Brad Purcell   University of Western Sydney

Colour plates, Photographs
176 pages, 240 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2010
ISBN: 9780643096936 - AU $ 39.95

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Many present-day Australians see the dingo as a threat and a pest to human production systems. An alternative viewpoint, which is more in tune with Indigenous culture, allows others to see the dingo as a means to improve human civilisation. The dingo has thus become trapped between the status of pest animal and totemic creature. This book helps readers to recognise this dichotomy, as a deeper understanding of dingo behaviour is now possible through new technologies which have made it easier to monitor their daily lives.

Recent research on genetic structure has indicated that dingo ‘purity’ may be a human construct and the genetic relatedness of wild dingo packs has been analysed for the first time. GPS telemetry and passive camera traps are new technologies that provide unique ways to monitor movements of dingoes, and analyses of their diet indicate that dietary shifts occur during the different biological seasons of dingoes, showing that they have a functional role in Australian landscapes.

Dingo brings together more than 50 years of observations to provide a comprehensive portrayal of the life of a dingo. Throughout this book dingoes are compared with other hypercarnivores, such as wolves and African wild dogs, highlighting the similarities between dingoes and other large canid species around the world.


  • A fresh perspective and enlightened view about dingoes and dingo management.
  • A positive outlook on the future of human production systems and wildlife management that accounts for climate change.
  • Provides a comprehensive overview of Australia’s most controversial and iconic predator.
  • Combines research on the dingo with research on wolves, jackals and coyotes to show a holistic, global perspective of canid predators.
  • Discusses the role of the dingo in contemporary Australian culture and shows the conflict between reality and perception.
  • Shows the complexity of dingo social systems and the impacts dingo control programs can have on the functioning of dingo society and Australian landscapes.
  • Introduces new environmentally considerate management techniques for livestock production enterprises to trial and promote coexistence with dingoes for conservation of Australian ecosystems.
  • Explores the importance of the dingo in Australian ecosystems.
  • Brings together information on the impacts of livestock production systems on Australian ecosystems and how dingo control may exacerbate those impacts.

1 Introduction
2 The dingo in Australia
3 What is a dingo and how does it differ from a domestic dog?
4 Dingo characteristics and biology
5 Hypercarnivory, sociality and territory inheritance
6 How do dingoes see Australian landscapes?
7 The role of a hypercarnivorous predator
8 Competition between humans and dingoes
9 Conserving dingoes in Australian landscapes
10 Order in the pack

  • Professional zoologists
  • Natural resource managers
  • University students
  • Secondary school students
  • Interest groups
  • Natural history enthusiasts
  • Tourists

 "... I have learned much about dingo biology and conservation from this book, and for anyone who has an interest in the natural history of Australia, this book is a must read."
Xiaoming Wang, Journal Mammalian Evolution 18, pp. 223–224, 2011

"This work is a solid introduction to the dingo for undergraduates, yet incorporates a plethora of data for advanced researchers."
K. K. Goldbeck, Choice, July 2011, Vol. 48, No. 11

"Brad Purcell writes with passion about the status of the Dingo, and his words are backed by many years of research… This book should prove an interesting and useful addition to anyone’s library, and I am very happy to recommend it."
Yvonne Paterson, WA Naturalist News, February 2011, pp.4-5

"This is a well-written, nicely illustrated and very well-documented book."
Geraldine Veron, De Gruyter, p. 245, 2013


 Brad Purcell completed his PhD at the University of Western Sydney on a study of dingoes in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. He has also studied the ecology of small native mammals, feral pigs and feral deer. Brad is a scientific advisor on the National Dingo Recovery and Preservation Program. 

Related Titles
 Wildlife Conservation in Farm Landscapes   The Red Kangaroo in Central Australia    Managing the Impacts of Feral Camels across the Rangelands: Results of the Australian Feral Camel Management Project   A Fragile Balance    Australian Wildlife After Dark    Double Helix Issue 05   The Complete Guide to Finding the Mammals of Australia  


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