In a paper published today in Proceedings B of the Royal Society, Australian scientists have determined that dingoes are beneficial to ecosystems in which they are the top predator. Nothing unusual there perhaps, except that dingoes were an introduced species coming with settlers some 5000 years ago from Indonesia and usually alien species are detrimental to their environment. In some areas of Australia where fencing has removed dingoes, kangaroos have increased and destroyed much of the arid grasslands thereby reducing numbers of smaller mammals and other wildlife dependent on that ecosystem. The red fox was also seen to increase in numbers. However, in those areas of the outback beyond the dingo fences the wild dog retained its role as the top predator and more importantly retained a more diverse cascade of wildlife in the pyramid beneath it and the grasslands remained more intact. Therefore a role for dingoes in the conservation of outback wildlife and increased farming productivity is suggested.
Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
During the recent research trip to Australia we were privileged to visit Oenpelli in Arnhem Land. This is an aboriginal tribal area in the east of the Northern Territories ‘Top End’, beyond the famous Kakadu National Park. Here a local guide took us on a tour to Injalak Hill and told us stories from the Dreamtime. This was also featured on BBC TV last weekend with Dr. Alice Roberts exploring The Incredible Human Journey. The hill has a tremendous history which is seen through its outstanding rock art as pictured above.
With plenty of time for photography in the Top End it became fun creating art in such a beautiful wilderness environment, nothing to compare with the aboriginal art over 40 000 years old, but enjoyable for its creativity “in camera”…Paperbark Trees in the Wetlands…
Steve writes “Having been back from Australia for a week or so now it is possible to reflect on a superb trip and on some tremendouos wildlife encounters in northern Australia.” Besides the phenomenal birdlife in the Top End of Northern Territories we also encounted 5m long crocodiles, dingoes, possums and plenty of agile wallabies. Little corellas regularly came to camp in good numbers and over in Queensland we encountered many thousands of egrets coming to roost on the Daintree River of an evening. The rainforest experience here is quiet unlike anywhere else and is special for being so primeaval.
However, the highlight of the trip was the incredible encounters snorkelling with whale sharks on the beautiful Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. The myriad of fish here is magnificent and we also snorkelled with manta rays, sharks and encountered dugongs and turtles. For April through to July when the whale sharks are on Ningaloo Reef it is a world class destination for a wildlife holiday and tourism here is helping the research on these mystical leviathans of the oceans.
This has been an excellent grounding for launching our Australia holidays and we are busy designing some very interesting trips to Australia which we hope to launch soon and which will be completely unique.
Steve has just heard that the numbers of whale sharks swimming on Ningaloo Reef this year are some of the highest on record so he is about to head off to find out what the excitement is about! Australia is often forgotten as a safari destination but the diversity of both habitats and of the wildlife should encourage any nature enthusiast to visit. And with an increasing number of wilderness camps it is now easier to experience. At this time of the year, May-June, it is the best time to be in the north in places like Kakadu which is Australia’s largest National Park, the rainforests of Queensland and of course on the pristine reef of Ningaloo in Western Australia where besides whale sharks and myriads of fish, dugong and manta rays can be seen. Other posts from Australia are likely to be forthcoming at the Waterhole here over the next few weeks and you can discuss a wildlife holiday or a safari through Australia with Steve on his return.