ABC Kimberley By Matt Bamford August 28, 2018 PHOTO: Dingoes are classified as non-native wild dogs in Western Australia. (ABC News) Widespread reforms to WA's Biodiversity Conservation Act, expected next year, will not consider a change to the existing classification of a dingo as a wild dog, not native to Australia. The iconic animals are considered no different to wild dogs and can be trapped or killed without permission in many places. Dingoes are currently classed as unprotected native fauna and a declared pest, but the animals will be listed as non-fauna under widespread reform to the Act. Leigh Mullan from the WA Dingo Association said the animals are a vital part of the ecosystem and lack important protection measures. "In the wild, at the moment, they do have some pseudo-protection. But when they're classified as non-fauna they can be killed anywhere in the state," he said. Under current legislation, an animal is considered a native species if it is indigenous to Australia or arrived before 1400 AD. WA's Minister for Environment, Stephen Dawson, also has the power to make a determination. In a statement to the ABC, Mr Dawson said under the proposed changes "I will make an order that determines that the dingo is not fauna for the purposes of the Act". "It's important to note that such an order effectively carries over the status quo, as the Wildlife Conservation Act notice made in 1984 made the dingo unprotected." PHOTO: Dingoes play a complex but positive role for native wildlife in the Simpson desert. (Supplied: Dr Aaron Greenville) The decision by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions was based on a 2017 study published in the scientific journal Zootaxa. The authors argue dingoes can not be considered a separate subspecies due to their inbreeding with wild dogs. A Department fact sheet said "they concluded that the Australian dingo should not be recognised as a separate subspecies to wild dogs". "There is no simple relationship between genetic purity and physical appearance of the dingo," it said. It notes that the only areas where pure dingoes are likely to exist are in remote parts of western and central Australia. Scientific community divided The dingo's taxonomic status has long been a contentious topic for academics since it was first encountered by Europeans in the late 1700s. The Australian Museum recently concluded the dingo was not a separate species but a "feral population of an ancient breed of domestic dog that was brought to Australia by humans" about 4,000 years ago. The Museum argues that this should not take away their scientific, ecological and cultural significance. Associate Professor Euan Ritchie from Deakin University, who has studied the role of dingoes in the Australian environment, said the animals perform a vital role in controlling the numbers of feral animals like cats and foxes. "We really need to be thinking about how we can maintain the dingo in the landscape while reducing potential negative impacts on things like livestock," he said. PHOTO: Australian Museum recently concluded the dingo is not a separate species but a feral population of an ancient breed of domestic dog brought to Australia by humans. (Supplied: Damian Morrant) "We've lost the thylacine and other top predators in the past, so we don't really have a large predator controlling things like kangaroo numbers and other smaller predators. "The dingo is all we have." He said he believed the reclassification could have a negative impact on their population. "What we 'call things' really does matter, it has a big impact on how we perceive them and how we manage them," he said. "Potentially that could have ramifications for them being controlled in certain areas." Pastoralists unconvinced PHOTO: Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association chair David Stoate sees first-hand the damage that wild dogs cause. (Supplied: Anna Plains Station) The decision comes at a time when dingoes have been in the spotlight for their predatory behaviour. Last month, a 54-year-old woman was badly bitten after being attacked by a pair of dingoes on a mine site in the Pilbara. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10155396562001811 Seems the dingoes around Exmouth are becoming quite brazen. Local Scott Forbes spotted this one in the middle of town the other day. That's not all good news according to the experts and they're warning kids to be very careful around them. You can read more about it here ➡️http://www.abc.net.au/…/dingoes-a-concern-as-they-m…/9820420 While attacks on humans are considered rare, pastoralists have long struggled with the predatory nature of wild dogs, which includes the dingo. Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association chair David Stoate sees first-hand the damage that wild dogs cause. "[They] predate calves, pulls tails off animals and chew their ears. So like all pastoralists we've got a problem with wild dogs," he said. But Mr Stoate, who runs Anna Plains Station, south of Broome, said that the dingo's classification had little bearing on working the land. "I can't really see what difference it [any changes to legislation] will make at all to controlling wild dogs," he said. "We do aerial baiting which obviously doesn't distinguish between a wild dog and a dingo. "The practical difference will be very little, I think, so we will have to wait and see."