Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nic Papalia & Lindy

Who is that in the photo at right?

That's me, Nic Papalia, President of the West Australian Dingo Association, and Lindy, my pet dingo. Lindy is 8 years old and a very gentle, friendly, and lovely dingo. She is a great ambassador for her kind.

Lindy is an Alpine dingo – there are only around 130-140 of them in the wild – and they live inside the Kosciusko National Park.

What's brewing?

I enjoy a flat white with no sugar.

We have been in talks with a man who has a company selling coffee from Vanuatu and have requested a dingo coffee label to highlight awareness of the plight of the dingo in Australia.

What about Lindy's coffee?

Lindy enjoys coffee if there is sugar in it!

How did Lindy come to be united with you?

I first visited Bruce Jacobs' Dingo Farm outside of Melbourne some 15 years ago. I was unaware of the plight of the dingo and a product of media persecution of the species. I knew the over-publicized Chamberlain case story which almost wiped the dingo population out. Bruce asked me to lay on the ground and I had 100 dingoes lay sit and stand next to and on me in an almost religious experience. I knew then I had to do something to try and correct the great wrong that has been permeated around and about the dingo and try to do all I can to help save the species from extinction. I was instrumental in forming the WA Dingo Association and also organised a friend to help create the website.

Then about 8 years ago I bought Lindy from Bruce Jacobs' farm. I paid $850 (Australian) for her when she was 3 weeks old.

How did Lindy get her name?

Lindy has the same name as Mrs. Chamberlain, irony is a strange thing!

Dingoes are canines but are of a different sub-species than dogs, right?

Dingoes are not domesticated animals – they can be humanised and, with the correct love and care, make wonderful companions.

A dingo is a wolf (canis lupis dingo), not a domestic dog (canis familiaris). They have a disposition more like that of a cat than a regular pooch.

You say "a disposition more like that of a cat than a regular pooch" but there aren't too many surfer cats out there....

That's Lindy the ‘surfie dingo, in the photo at right, with my son Adam at Meelup Beach.

I would ask if Lindy's bark is worse than her bite but...

Dingoes don’t bark. Also, they have no smell or odour. Dingoes have a scent gland in their tail and a double line of whiskers on their nose which are faint but pronounced. Dingoes come in tan, white and black and tan. There are different types of dingoes due to the evolution and surrounding landscape.

Which cinematic character does the dingo most closely resemble?

Dingoes are Australia's top land predator – they are our LION KING – keeping everything in the ecosystem balanced and harmonious. Fox, cat, pig and goat numbers are kept in line by the dingo; the kangaroo numbers are kept in balance, too, which stops the defoliation of Australia.

What about Lindy's own television career?

We have made a documentary about the dingo with Jon Lewis on "Time With Jon" which has been shown across Australia on many TV stations.

A narrow range of Lindy's media talents are on display in this video.

It seems like Lindy is quite the celebrity.

In 2004 Lindy accompanied me on a car trip with two friends to Alice Springs where we met Jim Cotterill and Dinky the singing dingo, and John Hogan, the man who has Donna, the world's only hearing guide dingo. It was quite a meeting in Alice Springs: a dingo from the west, the centre and the east. The three dingoes were on the front page of the Alice Springs newspaper and there was a horde of journalists and people at the train station to record and experience this remarkable event.

Lindy has also been on all of the Perth community paper covers.

I have given 28 radio interviews across Australia in the last 12 months on the importance of saving the dingo from extinction; the ABC radio interview was listened to, I was told, by a million listeners.

Wild dingoes are at high risk of extinction due to extermination projects funded by the Australian government and certain rural lobbies. Learn more about dingoes at the West Australian Dingo Association website and its MySpace page.

--Marshal Zeringue