HOLIDAY TIME: A dingo takes it easy on Fraser Island, despite big holiday camping crowds.
HOLIDAY TIME: A dingo takes it easy on Fraser Island, despite big holiday camping crowds.

Dingo encounters ‘inevitable’ and ‘benign’ on Fraser Island

THERE is nothing unusual about dingoes approaching campsites on Fraser Island, because the campsites are built in dingo territory, Save Fraser Island Dingoes' media officer Cheryl Bryant said yesterday.

"If you want to camp on K'Gari then be prepared for a visit from wildlife, be it a goanna or a curious dingo," she said.

"Most encounters with the dingo population are positive, (but) interaction reports are generated when a dingo is sighted regardless of the animal's behaviour. The number of negative encounters is minimal and if visitors keep campsites secure and children close, there really shouldn't be an issue," she said.

Rainbow Beach wildlife photographer Jennifer Parkhurst said she saw nothing unusual or unexpected about dingo-human interactions at this time of year.

"The very busy holiday season coincides with the time when juvenile dingoes begin leaving their packs, learning their new boundaries and exploring their territories, including beaches and campsites."

Ms Parkhurst, president of the National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program, said dingoes are often blamed for harmless interactions, including incidents when people approach dingoes.

"This can't be considered the dingo's fault," she said.

"Incident reports range from Code C, which is completely benign to Code E where there is an attack.

"The incidents also include dingoes 'coming close to people,' which should not be unexpected and should not be reported as an incident."

She said many official claims of dingoes exhibiting "dominance" were wrong, but dingoes were repeatedly killed because of this misunderstood behaviour.

"In most instances, a play-bow is reported as a dominance test, which usually results in the dingo being destroyed.

"Play-bows are widely known as an invitation to play.

"When in play-bow posture, a dingo drops its chest and front legs to the ground, rear end in the air, tail wagging.

"Everyone would have seen their family dog doing this. It is certainly not a dominant position," she said.

"In a dominance test, dingoes stand up straight and bristle to make themselves larger.

"They don't get into a submissive position," she said.