A stray puppy found on the side of the road in Australia turned out to be a rare dingo, which may be instrumental in the preservation of the species. Discovered by residents of Wandi, a small town in the state of Victoria, the dingo was overheard crying and believed to be a stray puppy or fox. A family took him to the Alpine Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Bec Day determined that the animal wasn’t a dog, but a purebred Australian alpine dingo — a species that’s endangered and at risk of extinction.
The dingo was named Wandi, and transferred to the Australia Dingo Foundation’s sanctuary while awaiting DNA test results. Once those results came through, it was confirmed that Wandi is 100 percent Australian alpine dingo — one of three types of dingoes in Australia. The alpine dingo is endangered primarily due to eradication programs, hunting, and inbreeding, but Wandi could be helpful in furthering the proliferation of the species.
Since most dingoes are mixed with domestic dogs, it’s rare for a foundation to take in a purebred dingo. According to Lyn Warson of the Australia Dingo Foundation, Wandi has all the features the foundation looks for in its breeding program, and “depending on his eventual development and the way he continues to get along with everybody else in the sanctuary,” he could be an ideal breeding candidate.