A coalition of First Nation’s groups from across the country met in Cairns over the weekend to call on state and territory governments to ban the use of lethal control of dingoes, and to respect the role the apex predator plays in the country’s ecosystems.

It comes after a spate of dingo killings on Queensland’s K’gari due to observed behavioral issues in the animal, which includes approaching tourists, stealing food, and biting.

An extensive study from the University of New South Wales found that a majority of dingoes are genetically pure, going against the “wild dog” label the animal has been slapped with.

In order to control populations and protect livestock, dingoes are poisoned, trapped and shot.

Jirrbal Rainforest woman and communications officer at Girringun Aboriginal Corporation Sonya Takau organised the Inaugural First Nations Dingo Forum.

She told NIRS News, the forum included Indigenous groups from across the country.

“This forum was about getting other Indigenous mobs together from across the country who wanted to have a say about the current dingo control methods that are happening out there on country, and wanting to stop the lethal process, and start supporting and working with farmers to work on non-lethal control.”

She says she want’s state and territory governments to start having conversations with First Nations groups on effective management strategies.

“It’s a conversation that’s not gonna go away.

Our model is a model for caring for dingoes on country utilising non-lethal methods which are proven and the current science is there to back it up.”

Lethal management of the animal isn’t just having a ecological impact, it’s having a cultural one as well.

Ms Takau says it’s eroding culture.

“Someone with a totem that identifies very strongly with that dingo, can’t identify with dingoes anymore if they’re not here.

The culture doesn’t get passed on, the story stops, the last dingo that dies in this country.

It’s like the thylacine, the Tasmanian tiger, if anyone had that totem over in Tasmania when they were around.

When the last Tasmanian tiger died, the identity of that Aboriginal person goes, they can’t carry that culture forward.”

Listen to the full interview with Jirrbal Rainforest woman and communications officer at Girringun Aboriginal Corporation Sonya Takau here: