Today the dingo - Australia's native dog - is threatened by extinction and faces conservation problems comparable to those that beset North American wolves and coyotes. In a work of natural history that reveals both the captivating and the harsh faces of the Australian outback, the world's leading expert on dingoes presents what is currently known about their ancestry, biology, behavior, and ecology. Sharing personal observations gleaned from twenty years of research, Laurence K. (Laurie) Corbett introduces the world of the dingo to a wide audience from amateur wildlife enthusiasts to mammalogists.
A subspecies of the gray wolf, the dingo (Canis lupus dingo) appears to have been brought to Australia at least three thousand years ago by Asian mariners. Corbett considers the evolution of these animals, their present distribution, and their relations with indigenous people in Asia and Australia. Enhancing his discussion with eight pages of color plates and thirty-four black-and-white illustrations, he then offers information on their identification and habitats and outlines methods for studying them. He explores the gamut of social and chemical communication among dingoes, focusing on patterns fo aggression, dominance, and submission. Corbett speculates on the evolution of dingo society in Australia and describes the social dynamics of the pack in the wild and in captivity. He also covers the dingo's feeding ecology, hunting tactics, and competition with other predators.
In conclusion, Corbett examines the problem of crossbreeding among dingoes and domestic breeds and assesses policy options for ensuring the survival of the elusive yellow dog.
Laurie Corbett is Principal Research Scientist at the Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre, Division of Wildlife and Ecology, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Darwin, Australia.