A resident of Wandiligong, Victoria, Australia was surprised to find a small puppy in their yard last August after a bird of prey apparently dropped it there from the sky. A recent DNA test of the puppy adds a new twist to the story: As the Independent reports, the canine, which its rescuers initially assumed to be a baby dog or fox, is actually a purebred alpine dingo. Alpine dingoes are very rare and the only dingo subspecies in Australia that's at risk of extinction.
Wandi the dingo, named for the town in which he was discovered, was brought to the Alpine Animal Hospital after being found alone in a backyard with talon marks on his back. Veterinarians determined he was just 8 to 10 weeks old at the time he was found.
Suspecting that the rescue pup was a dingo, the hospital moved him to the Australian Dingo Foundation's sanctuary in central Victoria as they awaited DNA test results to confirm his exact type. There are three types of dingoes in Australia: tropical dingoes, inland dingoes, and alpine dingoes. Alpine dingoes are native to Australia's east coast, where most of the country's population lives, and the combination of habitat loss and the threat of humans has made them endangered.
The DNA analysis showed that not only is Wandi an alpine dingo, but he's a purebred. The majority of dingoes are mixed with domestic dogs, which makes it hard for conservationists to maintain the species's original gene pool. Now that they know his genetic background, the caretakers at the dingo sanctuary will consider Wandi as a candidate for their breeding program to help rebuild the vulnerable species.