5 Apr

Map of the Week: Australia’s Dingo Fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Thomas Jang

Spanning 3,479 miles (5,600 kilometers), the Dingo Fence is the world’s longest fence that traverses the southeastern part of Australia and intersects ecosystems. Illustrated by its name, the fence was built to displace and keep dingoes out from the region to protect sheep flocks introduced by settlers. Resultantly, dingo populations in that region have decreased, due to efforts in exterminating and displacing them outside the fence. 

The Dingo fence has fragmented habitats and interrupted the development of dingoes and other animals, including kangaroos. Furthermore, since the beginning of European colonization of the continent, Australia’s biodiversity has significantly declined. 

Thylacines were the top predators in Australia, 3,000 to 5,000 years before the migration of dingoes from Asia, who traveled with people on boats. Consequently, the dingoes were able to adapt to the deserts, beaches, and forests and gradually became an integral part of the continent’s ecosystems. 

Significantly, the killing of dingoes is expensive, costing millions of dollars for graziers, a term for people who grow sheep and cattle for market. Coexisting with dingoes is essential, as it can reduce competition for pasture.