In what is being described as “an absolute miracle”, a second purebred alpine dingo pup — a threatened species — has been found by chance and rescued in north-eastern Victoria.
A year after the discovery of Wandi, who was found crying in a backyard near Bright after possibly being dropped from an eagle’s talons, the latest pup has been found almost 400 kilometres away.
- DNA confirms a pup abandoned in north-eastern Victoria is a purebred alpine dingo
- ‘Sooty’ is the second alpine dingo pup to be discovered in the region in two years
- ‘Wandi’ was found in August last year, possibly after being dropped in a backyard by an eagle
In June, a cattle farmer near Jamieson, 190 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, discovered what he initially thought was a koala huddled in the middle of a dirt track.
But as he and his son edged closer, they realised the tiny ball of fluff was a very young, abandoned pup.
The family handed the pup — named Sooty because of his unusual dark colouring and in honour of the year of Victoria’s most destructive bushfires — to the Australian Dingo Foundation (ADF).
Sanctuary Supervisor Kevin Newman said the abandoned pup was only about five or six weeks old when he was found.
Dr Kylie Cairns, a molecular biologist the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science, tested the pup’s DNA and confirmed it was a purebred alpine dingo.
“He shows no evidence of domestic dog ancestry and he is a further reminder that wild dingoes do persist in Victoria,” Dr Cairns said.
She said it was important to understand that dingoes were a native species and were vital to the function of a healthy natural ecosystem as the apex predator.
Australian Dingo Foundation founder and director Lyn Watson said Sooty was found in an area where dingoes were actively baited, trapped and shot.
She said it was likely that Sooty was orphaned and left to starve because his parents had been culled.
“For 10 years Victorians have been misled to believe that alpine dingoes have virtually disappeared from the Victorian landscape,” she said.
Sooty will now join Wandi and other purebred dingoes at the Australian Dingo Foundation’s Dingo Discovery Centre and Research Sanctuary in Toolern Vale, 40 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.