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Friday, March 09, 2012

"A Dingo Ate My Baby!" Well, Maybe It Really Did...

Photo of Dingos by Julie Fletcher/Getty Images, courtesy of The New York Times

This recent article from the Science section of The New York Times, discusses why Australia's previously benign view of the dingo may be changing. For those who saw the movie, "Cry in the Dark" (starring Meryl Streep as the mother on trial for killing her 9 week old child, whom she claimed was stolen from the Australian outback and killed by a dingo), you might recall that the real-life mother, Lindy Chamberlain, was convicted and served three years in prison before being acquitted in a re-trial-only after her baby's jacket was found near a dingo den.

What we didn't realize until we read this piece is that before this horrific incident nearly 32 years ago, the dingo, Australia's wild dog, was regarded as "shy of people, ...with no known attacks on humans." So that's what made it so hard for the Australian public to believe Mrs. Chamberlain's story: that a dingo had been "aggressive enough to come into a campground and take a baby from a tent." But since that time, and especially in the last decade, there have been a number of reported attacks and one fatality attributed to dingos.

And it just so happens that the Chamberlain case is in the news again: testimony in the fourth coroner's inquest just recently ended-and the Chamberlain family is hoping that this time, the coroner will conclusively determine that the cause of death of nine week old Azaria Chamberlain, was an attack by a dingo.

But what does this all mean for the dingo? This article helps explore those issues and that's why we think it's so important. "The demonization of Mrs. Chamberlain has been replaced by the demonization of the dingo," says a anthropology professor who has studied Australia's change in attitude toward the dingo. And they liken it to what has happened and what's continuing to happen with the wolf in this country: removal from the endangered species list, and from specific areas, systematic culling, and even aerial killing of wolves have become accepted methods for humans to deal with one of our country's natural predators, and our beloved dogs' closest relative.

It occurred to us after reading this article, that dingos perhaps have become more aggressive over the years as humans have encroached on their territory. What do you think? We'd love to hear your opinion.

           Meanwhile, back in Ohio, I strike a dingo-like pose...
                 Great photo of me by Rachel Lauren Photography


Sagira said...

I would believe that. I mean you hear about the coyotes right here in Ohio attacking more and more as we move in on their space.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Coyotes are in our beach neighborhood, but they keep building houses where they live...nutty
Benny & Lily

Rachel Lauren Photography said...

Encroaching on their territories means they need to be resourceful for food, and essentially 'take what they can get'. This is why we are having issues with coyotes killing cats and small dogs in neighborhoods, and also why wolves are going after livestock in the west. WE are entering THEIR territory and a cat (or child) is an easier meal than what they would normally eat. That is my opinion :)

Renee and Mugs said...

There is absolutely no predator like the human predator. We slaughter animals
mercilessly for any and all reasons, yet go into hysterics when the odd bear, wolf, coyote, mountain lion, dingo, etc. attacks a person, their pets, or livestock, most
often for food in the case of pets and livestock. I prefer to call it payback.

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