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Action Alert - Dingoes      
HSI

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ACTION ALERT
Sydney, 6th July 2009
Stop the culling of Fraser Island dingoes

ACT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

The pure dingo is at serious risk of extinction in the wild. Extensive reductions in range and abundance have prompted The World Conservation Union (IUCN) to list the species as Vulnerable. The population of dingoes on Queensland's Fraser Island is indicative of this decline. Although it is believed they may be the purest strain of dingoes on the eastern Australian seaboard by the end of 21st century, the number of dingoes on Fraser Island is rapidly declining, with an estimated population of only 140 remaining. Despite this, Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management are using culling of dingoes as a primary management strategy, together with ' ˜hazing', which involves firing clay pellets using a sling shot at any animals that come near humans or townships on Fraser Island.

Fraser Island is one of Australia's 17 World Heritage Sites and the world's largest sand island. For many tourists visiting Fraser Island, the highlight of their trip is seeing dingoes in the wild. As a key predator, the dingo plays a vitally important role in regulating the richness and abundance of animals and plants on Fraser Island. One of the main reasons for the dingoes decline on Fraser Island is due to the management strategy employed by Queensland's Parks and Wildlife staff, which is strongly focussed on humans rather than the dingoes themselves. The dingo has long been ingrained in the fabric of Australian society for historical and cultural reasons, and over this time they formed relationships with Aboriginal people, used for both companionship and hunting. This close relationship with humans causes dingoes to seek out human company, a main factor in their current decline on Fraser Island. These natural, sometimes boisterous interactions are often viewed as offences, resulting in the culling of animals which are simply acting out their normal behaviour.

Sadly, 56 dingoes have been killed since 2001 as a result of the current management approach, with 7 of these deaths alone having occurred in the first four months of 2009. Given broader conservation concerns about the dingo's decline, HSI is calling for culling to be replaced by better promotion of the understanding of dingo behaviour. By educating visitors on how best to interact with the dingoes it will result in a better experience for all, safety issues can be addressed, and culling replaced with the option of relocation only as a final resort.

Continued culling will lead to a drop in dingo sightings on Fraser Island, resulting in a drop in tourist revenue and possible broader environmental impacts on this important World Heritage site. HSI is therefore calling on the Queensland Government to modernise its management approach to the dingoes on Fraser Island and stop the culling, so that this important population can continue remain a tourist draw into the future.

Action:

Write to The Hon Kate Jones MP, Queensland's Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability at ccs@ministerial.qld.gov.au, and The Hon Timothy Mulherin MP, Queensland's Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland (who has responsibility for Animal Welfare issues) at dpi@ministerial.qld.gov.au, urging them to stop the culling of dingoes on Fraser Island immediately. Ask them to ensure that the revised Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy focus on the dingoes and the maintenance of this important population.

Points to make in your letter:

  • Call for an immediate end to the culling of dingoes on Fraser Island.
  • Ask for a management body to be established comprised of all relevant experts and representatives from all interests.
  • Encourage Queensland Government to modernise their management strategy so that the dingoes are managed with their natural behaviour in mind. This would mean an end to ' ˜hazing' of the dingoes.
  • Call for better education of tourists visiting Fraser Island on how to interact with dingoes.

Please send us copies of any responses you receive.





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