A puppy found in a back yard in Australia has turned out to not be a dog, but a rare dingo. It is hoped that the animal will be able to help increase the numbers of dingos of its kind, which are in danger of dying out.
In August, a family in the small town of Wandiligong in Victoria, Australia heard the crying of a small puppy in their back yard. They soon found the crying animal, which they thought was either a young dog or a fox pup.
They took the animal to a veterinarian (animal doctor), who said the animal was most likely a dingo. Dingos are special wild dogs from Australia.
The vet said that the animal had marks on its back that made it seem likely that an eagle had grabbed the pup in its claws. The animal was in good shape, but was probably many miles from its family.
The animal was given the name “Wandi” and was moved to a home for dingos run by the Australian Dingo Foundation (ADF).
The vet took some DNA samples from the animal and sent them off to be studied. Every living thing has DNA – a special code that tells it how to grow. That DNA can also be used to identify animals and learn about their parents.
Learning about Wandi’s parents was an important step. Though dingos once roamed over most of Australia, now there are fewer and fewer pure dingos.
One of the main reasons is that dingos can have puppies with regular dogs. As this happens, more and more of Australia’s “dingos” are actually “hybrids” – mixtures of dingos and household dogs.
In some areas there are many dingos and some people see them as a threat. Often “wild dogs”, including dingos, are hunted down.
Some groups, like the ADF, are working to protect pure dingos. Australia has three kinds of dingos, but only one of them – the alpine dingo – is in danger of dying out.
When the results of Wandi’s DNA test came back, it was good news for people working to protect pure dingos. Wandi is a pure alpine dingo.
When Wandi grows up, ADF hopes that he will become the father of other pure alpine dingos. Over time, the group hopes to raise the numbers of pure alpine dingos. The group also hopes to convince the government to do more to protect pure dingos.
But for now, Wandi is getting to enjoy being a puppy. Workers say Wandi, who is now four months old, has adjusted well to his new home. He is described as being very friendly, smart, and curious.
Wandiligong, Victoria, Australia
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