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Protecting Wilkerr

“We, the people of the Wotjobaluk Nations, have had an immensely strong cultural and spiritual connection to Wilkerr (Dingo) for thousands of years, and it is part of our living cultural heritage. Wilkerr is a very significant Spiritual Relative, which is demonstrated through our Creation Stories and Rock Art. Wilkerr is an important part of our cultural environment and should be protected as a unique population but instead has been persecuted much as we, the Wotjobaluk people have been since Colonisation. We call on the Victorian Government to remove the current Unprotection Order on Wilkerr (Dingo) in the Big Desert Cultural Landscape and to stop all other measures that result in the killing and persecution of Wilkerr. Don’t wait until it is too late and they disappear through your neglect. We do not give you permission to kill Wilkerr, and we never did.

WJJWJ Members endorsed a statement from the Wilkerr Cultural Gathering event in June 2023.

Image: Bunjil's Shelter (Black Ranges, Stawell) John Gollings 2022 (Copyright)



In Wergaia language 'Dingo'

Our connection

  • Wilkerr has a very important cultural and spiritual connection with the Wotjobaluk peoples, as shown by our creation stories and rock art.

  • They have a significant relationship historically known as hunting partners and companion species.

The Science

Wilkerr is really important to healthy ecosystems. As the top predator in the Big Desert-Wyperfelds area across much of mainland Australia, they play an important role by regulating and reducing kangaroo, wallaby, emu, and feral goat numbers. This substantially benefits vegetation communities and the many smaller native animals that depend upon plants for food, shelter and breeding sites. 

There are other effective and non-lethal ways to prevent or reduce the likelihood of managing dingo impacts on livestock, such as using guardian dogs and donkeys and strategic fencing, including areas where livestock may be birthing or have vulnerable young.

Science has shown that we can absolutely have productive farmland and healthy ecosystems that respect wildlife and culture.

The Biodiversity Council, a group of leading Australian biodiversity experts founded by 11 universities, agrees that the treatment of dingos must change, starting with the abolition of the wild dog bounty.

Further reading:

March 2024

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, we were informed that the Victorian Government had announced a change in Wilkerr (Dingo) management in northwestern Victoria, which included ending the Unprotection Order. Previously, this order allowed Wilkerr to be killed on public lands despite them being a threatened native species with significant cultural significance in the State of Victoria.


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