Better management, not hunt, is required to deal with Frazer Island dingos
Humane Society International (HSI) is disappointed at the archaic attitude displayed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), following the attack on a young girl by a dingo on Tuesday. Rangers have set traps in the area to capture and destroy the dingo, despite experts agreeing that local residents flouting laws banning the feeding of these wild animals inadvertently encouraged the attack.
“There is no doubt that any incident of this nature is unfortunate and we wish the young girl a speedy recovery,” said Rebecca Keeble, HSI’s Program Manager. “However, in the unlikely event that the offending dingo is able to be identified, destroying this one animal will not prevent this from happening again. The actual cause of this tragedy needs to be targeted, and that is the feeding of wild animals by local residents.”
While outraged at the hunt for the dingo, HSI is pleased that the QPWS has ruled out a cull of dingos on Frazer Island. Pure dingos are listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Switzerland as a vulnerable species, and they are at serious risk of extinction in the wild because of hybridisation with introduced domestic dogs.
“Dingos have existed in Australia for more than 4000 years,” said Ms Keeble. “Not only are they of immense ecological significance as a keystone predator, but they have become an Australian icon, featuring heavily in aboriginal and contemporary culture. Better management regimes, and enforcement of local laws that are in place to protect both the wild animal and human inhabitants, are clearly required to prevent a recurrence of what happened this week, and ensure the continued survival of the species.”
In recognition of their endangered status, HSI last year nominated seven important places protecting the most outstanding examples of intact dingo populations in Australia for inclusion on the National Heritage list. In addition to the Frazer Island population, the populations in the Arafura Swamp, Bradshaw Training Area and Kapalga in the Northern Territory, the Kimberly Islands in Western Australia, Kosciusko in New South Wales, and the Simpson Desert in central Australia have also been nominated.
“HSI hopes that our landmark nomination of this natural, cultural and indigenous icon will help develop the important concept of ‘heritage species’ listings under Commonwealth legislation,” said Ms Keeble.