In 2019, the residents of a house in Wandiligong, Australia had a seriously strange day when it started raining puppies. Well, to be fair, ABC News tells us it was just the one puppy, who was found covering in their backyard. There were no other canine animals around, and the poor pup had wounds that looked awfully like talons, so the running theory is that he had been caught and dropped by an eagle.
Unsure whether the poor furball was a dog or a fox, the residents took the wounded puppy in and later brought him to an animal hospital. “Wandi” (as he came to be known) was nursed back to health and taken to a sanctuary as they waited for his DNA tests to come in. Once they did, things got even weirder: The adorable Wandi turned out to be a pure alpine dingo, making this random stray an extremely rare member of an endangered species.
Why is the rare dingo puppy so important?
Wandi’s unexpected discovery is making conservationists extra excited for two reasons. His species, the alpine dingo, shares its habitat with 80 percent of Australia’s human population, which has caused their numbers to dwindle down to the point where they’re “very close to extinction.” What’s more, Australian Geographic tells us purebred dingoes like him are incredibly rare, especially on the alpine dingo’s native east coast. Dingo expert Dr. Ricky Spencer of University of Western Sydney says that the dingo’s ability to interbreed with dogs could make the species go extinct within two decades, and that purebred dingoes are already incredibly rare: “Nowhere on the east coast of Australia can you find a dingo population that isn’t at least fifty percent, and in some cases eighty percent, domestic dog.”
For Wandi, this impending tragedy means a life of (hopefully eagle-free) luxury. The purebred pup is fitting very nicely in the sanctuary, and he even has a playmate of the same age. Conservationists are hopeful that he will continue to develop well and get along with other animals, and he may eventually play a big part in, well, increasing the alpine dingo population.
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