Tuesday 26 January 2016

Kadoka the New Guinea Singing Dog

Kadoka, New Guinea Singing Dog

Leading up to July 1996, the Dingo Sanctuary Bargo’s resident vet and manager, David had commenced his Master of Science degree at the University of NSW on the genetics of the Dingo under the supervision of Drs Alan Wilton and Bill Sherwin and he was extracting DNA from the Dingoes so was not at the sanctuary quite as much. On top of David and the volunteers usual busy schedule:

  • Berenice had a fall and was to be in hospital for two months.
  • A transportable building to be used as the new entrance and shop had arrived and improvements to the  dingo runs had started.
  • Nardoo’s puppies were being prepared to go to Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.
  • Visitation had continued to grow.
  • A new website had been designed.

It was a busy time for everyone.

Then, out of the blue the phone rings. It was Carol Bach from Taronga Zoo asking when the sanctuary would be taking Kadoka.

Kadoka was a New Guinea Wild Dogs (New Guinea Singing Dogs) who had resided at the zoo and was going into retirement at Bargo. Taronga had been well known for its New Guinea Wild Dogs and supplied zoos around the world. Kadoka was also believed to be the last New Guinea Wild Dog in Australia. He was living in a concrete enclosure in the vet block at the zoo and it was agreed that he could be offered better accommodation at the sanctuary and could also be walked on a regular basis. They readily agreed to take him although there was some concern the Merigal pack would consider him an outsider    

Late in August the big day arrived with Taronga Zoo staff delivering Kadoka mid-morning. He was let out of his crate and into one of the smaller runs but didn’t seem terribly impressed with his surroundings. After a walk to the dam and staff keeping an eye on the bordering dingo neighbours he was taken to a yard behind the house.

Hostie who used to be in this area was locked in one of the very old kennels. With the exception of a bit of bravado from Koori, so far so good but, what to do with Hostie?

Hostie was returned to her yard and introduced to Kadoka. They went about their own thing and didn’t seem to have any problems with each other.

With his friendly, loving ways and some local publicity ‘Dokie’ became a popular attraction and a favourite of the volunteers in a very short time.

Only problem with Kadoka was that he was a New Guinea SINGING Dog and that’s just what he did every time someone he knew arrived. Some unkindly referred to him as a New Guinea Screaming Dog or New Guinea Whinging Dog. Fortunately he settled when no one was around but his behaviour did pose a problem.

The sanctuary had an enthusiastic team of volunteers who attended to the dingoes needs, assisted visitors, cared for the gardens and took care of a myriad of odd jobs.

Dingoes are creatures of habit so there was a fixed routine to reduce disruption as much as possible with feeding, handling and walking being carried out at regular times to avoid undue excitement and disturbance.

‘Dokie knew all the regular volunteers and loved them all equally. As soon as we walked through the gate he would start. The noise was unbelievable! I am sure he could be heard miles away.

How to solve the problem? Easy we drew up a new routine; one that instructed (more like insisted) every volunteer HAD to follow. Number one on the list was “Say hello to Kadoka”. After a few minutes of cuddling and running around with him he wold settle and we could get on with our tasks – in peace.


Kadoka was about 10 when he was retired to Merigal and a sweeter natured dog you could never meet. Sadly he passed away in 1997. During the morning he had appeared to be his usual bright, affectionate (and noisy) self. Later in the day, spying two of his favourite humans he started jumping up and down, screaming, as usual, for a walk when he suddenly collapsed and died.

His body was returned to Taronga Zoo for autopsy. The autopsy and histopathology revealed very little. It seems he died of a heart attack.

RIP ‘Dokey


  1. Thank you for posting this. New Guinea dogs have always fascinated me.

    1. You are most welcome. If I come across any more about Kadoka in Berenice's files I will post here or on the Dingo Lady Facebook page. Unfortunately his time with us was all too short