Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Fraser Island Dingoes Are Not to Blame

Yet another dingo attack on Fraser Island, the third this year, has hit the headlines.

For visitors to the island there are signs and information about safe camping, not feeding the dingoes and not interacting with them.

Yet, tourists persist in ignoring the advice and it is the dingoes suffering.  Again, calls have gone out for a dingo cull but the voice of reason and criticism of the government’s policies and management of the island are getting louder. When will they be listened to?

Fraser Island is the dingoes’ home. They have more right to be there than the human holiday makers. Visitors are just that, visitors and need to respect the inhabitants and be responsible for their own safety.

We have been told rangers will be increased by 50 per cent and face-to-face contact with visitors will be bumped up following a review into the situation. Let’s hope it will happen, visitors will do the right thing and the dingoes won’t be killed. Revenge is not justified when it is taken for the wrong reasons.

The Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, the island's native title holders, issued a statement saying the attacks could have been avoided. A spokesperson for the corporation said:

"The BAC has been kept at arm’s length from the government’s dingo conservation and risk management strategy on K’gari [the traditional name for Fraser Island] and its associated awareness campaigns, since gaining our native title rights in 2014."

The statement called on the government to put in place "joint management arrangements" with the Butchulla people.

"It is time people are more accountable for the actions - Wongaris [dingoes] should not be sacrificed for human error or inciting interaction," the statement read.

Cheryl Bryant, spokeswoman for Save Fraser Island Dingoes, was quoted as saying:

"It goes back to people not doing the right thing.

"Visitors are coming into their territory, feeding them and taking photos of them on a daily basis so dingoes are now conditioned to approach people and see them as a food source."

Announcing the increase of ranger activity, Environment Minister, Leeanne Enoch said the extra rangers will ensure all visitors to the island are remaining vigilant and following the dingo-safe messaging.

Ms Enoch said the government was committed to supporting a healthy dingo population while minimising the risks to human safety and dingo welfare.

Ms Enoch said she hoped to further involve the Butchulla people with dingo management to keep residents and the 400,000 visitors to the island each year safe.

The government has made promises in the past. Let’s hope this time they are true to their word and put the dingoes first.

You can support the call for protection of the Fraser Island Dingoes by signing this petition. https://www.change.org/p/leeanne-enoch-minister-for-environment-queensland-stop-killing-fraser-island-dingoes-before-it-is-too-late?fbclid=IwAR1FJa8t1Ciun0clyyzdeGmGYHPlC-ULbrg7D5LJQoByzerYqGebFZnzn78

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