"REWILDING" native animals driven to extinction across much of Victoria is possible, dingo experts have told a parliamentary inquiry into ecosystem decline.
The comments - made in a newly published transcript from the Victorian inquiry - add weight to the argument that predators like dingoes could be reintroduced to combat feral pests.
The same inquiry previously revealed central Victoria's Traditional Owners the Dja Dja Wurrung were in very early talks with the government about reintroducing dingoes, quolls and emus to different parts of the region.
All three animals are totems for different groups and the Dja Dja Wurrung have a cultural obligation to look after them, Traditional Owner Rodney Carter has previously told the Bendigo Advertiser.
"We haven't got a clear line of sight about how we would get to this idea of 'rewilding' but the idea of it is sound," he said, pointing to the reintroduction of wolves in parts of North America.
Only quolls remain in the Bendigo area, and even then they are very rare and rarely spotted.
The parliamentary inquiry has proven particularly interested in finding out more about dingoes in particular.
It has asked multiple witnesses whether the apex predator could help reverse crises in the state's ecosystems by restoring a balance many witnesses say is lacking.
A number of witnesses have reported watching ecosystems deteriorate before their eyes, including Bendigo groups citing experiences and data from recent decades.
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The Australian Dingo Foundation has told the inquiry that rewilding dingoes in other parts of the country has driven cat and fox numbers down, according to the new inquiry transcripts.
"In the context of a broad landscape dingoes are 24/7 pest controllers, and they are unmatched by time-consuming and expensive poisons, trapping and baiting and shooting that only serve to create a temporary disturbance in population numbers," the group's spokesperson Melinda Browning said.
"There is absolutely a whole body of scientific evidence, and it is irrefutable that if you take the dingoes out ... you get overrun with feral cats and foxes.
"It is just so detrimental."
ADF founder Lyn Watson said that contrary to popular belief, dingoes rarely bred with other dogs because of the lengthy courtship rituals females demanded of potential mates.
She told the inquiry her group was "only too happy" to get involved in projects testing whether dingo populations could be established.
"Dingoes do not need a big territory if there is a rabbit warren there, because they have farmed those rabbits. They will not go far," Ms Watson said.
While dingo can kill sheep, they prefer leaner meat, she said. Farmers are much more likely to lose lambs to exposure, starvation, dystocia and other predators like foxes.
Ms Watson said trials could easily be done in areas well away from farms.
The Dja Dja Wurrung have previously told the Advertiser any plans to reintroduce dingoes would need to be done after extensive consultations with nearby landowners.
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