Lifestyle

Dingo safety plan for Fraser Is tourists

A safety program to protect tourists from wild dingoes on Fraser Island has been expanded after an eight-year-old boy was bitten earlier this year.

The introduction of new infrastructure, community education and patrols builds upon the current management plan for dingoes on the Island.

A rise in aggression in the dogs culminated in an eight-year-old boy being bitten by two animals in February, prompting a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service review.

Dingo deterrent fences, patrols and community education are all part of a $60,000 investment to limit human interactions and keep the native animals safe.

QWPS acting regional director Stephen Price says the investment is necessary due to the poor behaviour of visitors to the island.

“We have put together a comprehensive plan to actively manage the wongari [dingos] in the Wathumba campground area,” Mr Price said.

“We’ve seen some examples of really poor behaviour around wongari recently – including people deliberately feeding and approaching them.

“We need people to understand that feeding wongari is not only extremely dangerous but also detrimental to them.”

Infrastructure upgrades will also be complemented by extra patrols and extended camping ground closures.

“The Wathumba Creek campgrounds were closed in response to the attack, but we have decided to extend the closures until July 1,” Mr Price said.

In addition, the QPWS has closed Wathumba and Platypus Bay roads and rangers will be conducting patrols of areas, including the Bowal, Awinya Creek, Bowarrady Creek, Woralie Creek and Moon Point camping areas.

Mr Price said the community also needed to step up to ensure their own safety around the dingos, which number up to 30 packs of up to 12 animals each.

“As they become more and more reliant on visitors for food, the more they will approach people and can become aggressive,” Mr Price said.

“This means that we may have to take difficult decisions to appropriately manage the risk posed by an aggressive wongari, and that includes potentially euthanising the animal – something we definitely don’t want to have to do.”

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