The Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia.

Dingoes were introduced to Australia approximately 5,000 years ago. They are both culturally important to Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians and valued as an iconic Australian species.

Dingoes are thought to play an important role in the natural environment as a top-order predator by suppressing populations of large herbivores (e.g. kangaroos) and introduced mesopredators (medium sized exotic predators such as foxes) through direct predation or increased predation risk, harassment and competition for resources.

The Dingo is listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as a result is protected (threatened wildlife) under the Wildlife Act 1975.

A Dingo Action Statement has been developed which sets out the priority conservation actions for the Dingo in Victoria.

Find out about the Dingo Action Statement (PDF, 1.6 MB).

Order in Council unprotecting the Dingo in certain circumstances

Any wild dog or Dingo found on private land (or on public land adjacent to private land) has the potential to threaten livestock.

In Victoria, wild dogs are declared as pest animals and can be legally controlled.

More information on wild dogs is available from Agriculture Victoria.

However, the Dingo is listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as a result is threatened wildlife and protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is an offence under the Wildlife Act 1975 to take or kill threatened wildlife without an authorisation to do so.

Dingoes cannot be reliably visually distinguished from wild dogs, making it impossible to ensure they are not inadvertently destroyed in wild dog control programs in any given area where both exist.

To allow the continued control of wild dogs where they threaten livestock, an Order in Council was made on 1 October 2010 under the Wildlife Act 1975, declaring the Dingo as unprotected wildlife in certain areas of the state.

The Order in Council is in place to enable wild dog control for the protection of livestock on private land and along the boundaries of public land in some areas of the state, whilst also ensuring the conservation of the Dingo on most public land.

On 24 September 2013, an amendment to the original Order in Council was made to extend it for a further five years and remove an out-dated section regarding perpetual leases on public land. A new Order in Council was made on 25 September 2018 to allow control of wild dogs and Dingoes to continue where they threaten livestock for a further five years – until 1 October 2023.

Further information on the Order in Council:

Order in Council (PDF, 298.6 KB)
Order in Council (DOCX, 231.2 KB)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Dingo is a threatened species and protected on most public land throughout Victoria. A Dingo Action Statement was developed in consultation with major stakeholder groups and released in January 2014. The Action Statement sets out the key considerations for the conservation of the Dingo in Victoria and outlines the priority conservation actions.

In Victoria, wild dogs are declared as pest animals under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 and can be legally controlled. However, Dingoes are threatened wildlife and protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is an offence to take or kill threatened wildlife without an authorisation to do so.

Dingoes cannot be reliably visually distinguished from wild dogs, making it impossible to ensure they are not inadvertently destroyed in wild dog control programs in any given area where both exist.

To allow the continued control of wild dogs where they threaten livestock, an Order in Council was made under the Wildlife Act 1975 declaring the Dingo as unprotected wildlife in certain areas of Victoria.

The Order in Council unprotects Dingoes on all private land and on public land within 3km of any private land boundary, across sections of the north-west and east of the state (within the hatched areas shown in the map in Schedule 1 of the Order in Council). Dingoes remain protected on all other public land across Victoria.

The original Order in Council, published in the Government Gazette on 1 October 2010, declared the Dingo to be unprotected wildlife on all private land and public land within a 3km boundary of private land in certain areas of the state for the protection of livestock. This Order in Council was valid for a period of three years and was amended on 1 October 2013 to extend it for a further five years, expiring on 1 October 2018.

A new Order in Council was required to allow wild dog control to continue on private land and specified public land in areas of Victoria where wild dogs pose a demonstrable threat to livestock.

The new Order in Council was published in the Government Gazette on 27 September 2018 and ensures the current arrangements are in place for a further five years – until 1 October 2023. This will allow current arrangements for the control of wild dogs to continue in Victoria in areas where they have been determined to be a threat to livestock.

The Order in Council ensures that public land managers can continue to control wild dogs in areas where they threaten livestock.

On public land, only employees of, and persons engaged to kill or take Dingoes in writing by, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or Parks Victoria may kill or take a Dingo. Wild dog control work is concentrated within 3km of the private land boundary to direct effort where it is most effective in protecting livestock.

Strategic and targeted wild dog control also occurs on public land beyond the 3km livestock protection buffer in accordance with Wild Dog Management Zone (WDMZ) Work Plans, where it is justified for livestock protection.

This reflects the Victorian Government’s wild dog control policy and ensures that the Dingo remains protected on most public land.

The Order in Council ensures that farmers and private landholders can continue to control wild dogs in areas where they threaten livestock.

Dingoes are unprotected on all private land in Victoria, except when kept in captivity. Therefore, farmers and private landholders can destroy a Dingo on their property, where it is threatening livestock.

The Order in Council balances the importance of securing the continued survival of Dingo populations in Victoria while allowing for effective protection of livestock from wild dogs in some areas of the state.

Land owners and managers need mechanisms to allow them to protect their livestock from wild dogs where they are threatened, without fear of being in breach of the law.

Without the Order in Council, farmers and public land managers controlling wild dogs may inadvertently destroy a Dingo in the process, which would be an offence in Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975.

It is important to remember that Dingoes remain protected on most public land across Victoria.

Page last updated: 27/09/2018