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Jane Goodall opens heart to dingo research

By Katie Weiss

Dame Jane Goodall gives dingo research a pat on the back. Photographer: Phil Hines Dame Jane Goodall gives dingo research a pat on the back. Photographer: Phil Hines

Renowned primatologist Dame Jane Goodall has embraced environmental research about dingoes conducted by a Charles Darwin University research fellow.

CDU School of Environment research fellow Dr Arian Wallach said meeting her childhood role model at a dingo seminar in Melbourne Museum was an incredible experience.

“It was a very special encounter, on both a personal and a professional level,” she said.

Dr Wallach said the relationships Dr Goodall formed with wild animals, and her experiences venturing into African forests as a lone woman, were inspirational.

“In many ways, her work had inspired me to do my own research,” Dr Wallach said.

“There are many things about her that I didn’t know from afar, about the sort of person that she is, that I found to be very inspiring.”

Dr Wallach said meeting Dr Goodall in person allowed her to learn more about the primatologist’s personal attributes.

“Her humbleness, her passion, her power,” she said.

“I think some people describe her as a force of nature and I find that to be a very apt description.”

Dr Wallach gave a presentation at the seminar about the ecological roles of dingoes.

She is researching the influence of dingoes on biodiversity, native-non-native coexistence and pastoralism at Evelyn Downs, a predator-friendly cattle station in remote South Australia.

“Having Jane Goodall provide such powerful and public support for dingoes has the potential to start highlighting this as an important topic for social discussion,” Dr Wallach said.

“I feel very strongly that we need to start protecting dingoes, and find ways of engaging with the natural world that are both compassionate and scientifically sound.”