ambience: dingoes howling
Australian Aborigines first named these wild dogs “Warrigal”. Settlers called them “Dingoes.” Today, they’re found throughout Australia and they’ve become a major problem for farmers. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Lana Langdale is a keeper of mammals at Australia’s Taronga Zoo. Right now were listening to the sounds of her feeding Dingoes.
“A dingo is a wild dog that was brought originally to Australia from Asia about five thousand years ago. It was used as as a pet in Asia. And they brought it over as companion animal and also as an emergency food supply on route. The Aboriginals also used it as a camp dog. They actually traded with the Asians for dingoes as pets. Basically they’ve populated the whole mainland of Australia now and they are running wild as wild dogs here.”
In part, their population has done so well because Dingoes don’t have any predators.
“The only thing that preys upon dingoes in Australia is humans. But other than that the only thing that really does effect dingoes is disease.”
Dingoes do prey on other animals. And, now, as their traditional food sources are becoming more scarce because of human development, Dingoes are turning to domesticated animals for food, pitting themselves against the sheep farmers.
“Quite often they’ll go in and just kill a whole paddock full of sheep, and just leave it. They seem to get into this frenzy of killing and do that. So dingoes can be a real problem and unfortunately they’re competing with the farmers for land and farmers have made a lot of cattle grazing land. And as a result their natural resources such as wallabies are disappearing off the land and they’ve got to eat something. And so sheep are easy to catch and there’s a lot of meat on them.”
We’ll hear more about the Australian Dingo in future programs.
Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.
Around the world, mangroves are being destroyed to make room for shrimp farms, housing, and other forms of urban expansion. But the loss of a mangrove can have serious environmental consequences.
“What happens is that first of all, more of the land-derived materials – whether it’s sediment, or whether it’s heavy metals, or whether it’s nitrogen and phosphorus – will make it to the sea. And that means that probably water quality will be lower. In fact, in many places in the Australian Great Barrier reef, people are beginning to be concerned about the survival of certain coral species because of the changes going on, from not only urban sprawl, but also the destruction of mangroves forests on the shore. So there’s connections there that will certainly have consequences if we have reduced the subsidies that mangrove forests provide us.”
We’ll hear more on mangroves in future programs. Please visit us on the web at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.