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RESCHEDULED EVENT: The amazing world family of dogs: barkers and biters, by Mike Griffiths – DRB Nats

14 August, 7:15 pm-9:30 pm


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.

Please note: This meeting was scheduled for earlier in the year, but was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The DRB Nats committee have met and decided that it is now safe for this event to go ahead and we will be taking some precautions to protect members who attend:

  • Only members will be allowed to attend this event.
  • Members will have to bring their own food and drink.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available and should be used when entering.
  • Maintain social distancing.
  • Volunteers will be organised to clean the facility before and after the event.
  • You will be required to give your details to volunteers who will complete a register or persons attending.
  • Please do not attend if unwell (call the DRB Nats phone number on 0436 448 647 to let us know).

Please complete the RSVP if you intend to attend on the night so that we know how many people are coming. If you have completed the RSVP but can’t attend because you are unwell, please call the DRB Nats phone on 0436 448 647. 

***If there is insufficient numbers attending the event, we will cancel and let all persons registered know***

Further details: As per usual we will be accepting cash for the entry fee for the night. The people handling the cash will be using gloves and we will have hand sanitiser readily available. There will be no raffle prizes, but there will be up to five door prizes. The door prizes, will be selected by a random number generator from the list of members attending, rather than raffle tickets.

Event Details:

Did you know Australians spend 10 million dollars a year looking after their dogs? We’re a dog-loving nation and Perth Hills residents love their dogs as much as anyone else. But where do our dogs come from, what are their closest relatives in the forests and deserts and how different are they to our faithful pets and to each other? Come and learn all about the amazing family of dogs.

Topic: The Amazing World Dog Family: Biters and Barkers

Dogs are some of the best known animals around the world: “Man’s best friend” and faithful companions to countless millions of people. Yet there is a lot about the dog family that is poorly understood and many species are unheard of to most people. The enigmatic Small-eared Dog from the deep Amazon was rarely seen even by local indigenous people and only captured on video for the first time in recent years. Recent discoveries are shedding new light on the evolution and spread of the Dingo and its relatives – a long way from Australia! Can Chinese Dingoes possibly be more dinky-di and truer to the Dingo type than Aussie Dingoes? What on earth is the tree-climbing, fruit-eating Tanuki dog of Japan’s rugged forests that features in traditional folklore? And why is the bizarre looking Bat-eared Fox so different to all other members of the family?

Dogs and their relatives – better known as Canids – include wolves, foxes, jackals, jackal-like zorros from South America, and a whole lot of seemingly aberrant relatives that just don’t fit in to our definitions of ‘wolf’, ‘fox’, ‘jackal’ etc. like the Dhole, India’s “Wild Dog of the Deccan”. This is an extremely interesting and diverse family that fill a variety of ecological niches in all types of landscapes and climates including Australia. Mike will discuss well known and poorly known species of canids from around the world, looking at ecology and biology of canids, conservation issues and cultural connections. In particular, Dingos and their overseas cousins will be given special coverage, including how Dingoes evolved into being part of the Australian ecology with ancient Aboriginal names and a firm place in Dreamtime stories around the country. The Noongars’ hunting companion Twert was here in the Darling Ranges eons before Wadjelas (Europeans) arrived and is part of traditional Nyintin (Dreamtime) stories across the south-west.

Footnote: This talk is actually a sequel to an earlier talk on Canids to DRB Naturalists by Mike – several decades ago in DRB’s earliest days at the Mundaring Weir Hall! As a nervous teenager, he gave a talk entitled “Biters and Barkers – Wild Dogs of the World”, complete with hand-drawn charts and an old-style slide show. Part 2 will have a few technological and taxonomic updates.

Speaker: Mike Griffiths  

Mike is a life-long and passionate naturalist. He grew up in the Perth Hills, roaming barefoot as a boy through the Jarrah forest, catching Gilgies in the creeks and exploring the granite rocks. He travelled around Australia as a youngster with naturalist parents Kevn and Peg and four siblings, bush camping all the way. He came home six months later wide-eyed and thirsting for more exciting outdoor nature experiences.  Naturalist friends like Eric McCrum encouraged and mentored Mike, and it was no surprise that after barely starting high school he made up his mind that he wanted to study biology at university.

Mike’s natural history interests are broad but bird watching was his first passion. This fascination for birds slowly expanded to include practically all other animals including marine life, invertebrates and the dog and cat families.

After graduating at Curtin University Mike worked as a field ecologist and natural history tour guide across the Outback, a conservation officer in the Wheatbelt and an indigenous ranger coordinator in the Great Western Woodlands (Goldfields). He is currently working as an environmental officer in Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar wetlands based in Mandurah.

Botany also became a major part of his working life and remains a strong personal interest but his biggest passion of all is for the protection of our unique biodiversity and raising public awareness about its importance.


  • Kids’ talkone of your younger members, Poppy, will be giving a 5 minutes kids’ talk – her talk will be called: “The old and the ancients I met on holidays”, which is about Rottnest wave deposit fossils and the Walpole Valley of the Giants, Red Tingle trees. 
  • Boffins talk – one of our expert members will be giving an 8 minutes Boffins’ talk – details to be announced.
  • Nature road show”. Members and visitors are encouraged to bring items to place on the display table or to send photographs to the MC in advance, e.g. a sample flower, an insect, and so on – anything of natural history interest that has legally been obtained. If we have time, one of our experts will identify them or briefly talk about them, or the person bringing them can talk about where they saw it, etc. Photographs are particularly welcome, as everyone can see them. If you wish to show a photograph please email it, no later than the day before, to our MC for this night, and she/he will include it on her PowerPoint slides: DRB@wanaturalists.org.au
  • Door prizes: You could also be the lucky winner of a door prize. The prize winners will be selected by a random number generator from the members list of those attending.
  • Raffle: For this meeting there will be no raffle prize.

Time: Please come at 7.15pm or earlier if you wish, for a 7.30pm start as we start promptly. We are open from 6.45pm. We finish formal proceedings no later than 9.30pm and stay for refreshments and socialising afterwards any time up until 10.20pm.

Donation: All this for only a donation of $3 per person for adult members ($0 for child members), and $5 per adult visitor and $1 per visiting child to help with the costs of running the club, venue hire, insurance and so on. Includes tea and coffee and home-made cake and biscuits (including gluten free). Please bring the right CASH to help us avoid long queues. Thanks. We do not have EFTPOS facilities yet.

Entrance: It is a condition of entry that everyone signs in on arrival, thank you. There will be a list of attendees that have registered to attend the event. Please check your details are correct and the volunteer can correct them if necessary.

Parking: Free parking right outside.

Wheelchair access: Everything is on one level.

Toilets: Are inside.

Bookings: Bookings are required for this event, please submit your RSVP.



14 August
7:15 pm-9:30 pm
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Mike Griffiths
The amazing world family of dogs: barkers and biters