A number of recent dingo attacks on Queensland’s Fraser Island has sparked a fair bit of outcry … but so too has the continued poor behaviour of tourists around the wild animals.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has just fined to two women for interacting with dingoes (wongari), and then posting photos on social media.
A 29-year-old New South Wales woman and a 25-year-old Queensland woman each received a $2,300 Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) following an investigation by Compliance Manager Mike Devery said both women were reported to the department by members of the public who had seen the content online.
“Both women have made an extremely dangerous decision to interact with wongari and that’s why they have been fined,” Mr Devery said.
“The Queensland woman could have been bitten by the wongari, which was clearly exhibiting dominance-testing behaviour.
He stressed that dingoes are wild animals and need to be treated as such.
Mr Devery said the New South Wales woman had ‘recklessly chosen to approach very closely to three sleeping wongari pups, and she was lucky the mother of the pups wasn’t nearby’.
“Wongari are known for defending their packs and their pups, and it is unbelievable that people would endanger their wellbeing like this,” he said. “Deliberately interacting with wongari is irresponsible, and rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) will not tolerate it.
Senior Ranger Linda Behrendorff said most of Fraser Island was bushland, giving the dingoes plenty of territory to live, hunt and raise their pups.
“Unfortunately, wongari that venture near the public areas can become quickly habituated, and one interaction can be the start of wongari becoming habituated, because they lose their natural wariness of people,” she said. “Residents and visitors to the island cannot treat wongari as cute, hungry or something to play with, because the wongari will start to approach people for food, and that can put wongari and people at risk.”
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