Environment: The Hated Wild Dog

Dingo is a dirty word in the Australian vocabulary. As an adjective, it connotes extreme cowardice. As a noun, it refers to a species of wild dog, usually yellow and about the size of a German shepherd, whose bite is worse than its bark.* In the 19th century, before any organized attempts to eradicate the dingoes, they killed about 500,000 sheep a year, making them Australia's public enemy No. 1. As late as the 1920s, Anatomist Frederic Wood-Jones expressed the national attitude toward the killers. "To say anything in favor of the hated wild dog is treason in Australia."

Despite that hatred,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!