Is the dingo a separate species? Or is it a wild dog? The answer could determine its future, writes Undark. While local governments throughout Australia are working to remove the animals to protect livestock operations, some scientists oppose the measures. They say the dingo fills a critical ecological niche and should be preserved. In a 2014 paper in The Journal of Zoology, researchers argued the dingo, which was brought by traders from southeast Asia 3,500 years ago, deserves its own name — Canis dingo. Opponents disagreed, including a rebuttal that argued the dingo, like a dachshund, is Canis familaris. If it’s a separate species, the dingo could receive government protections if its populations drop. That’s less likely if it’s considered a feral dog.
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