Fraser Island’s Dingoes are a genetically unique species. They are highly intelligent and complex and play a significant role in the fragile Eco system of the largest sand island in the world, K’gari aka Fraser Island.
Scientist say that the Fraser Island Dingo has called K’gari their home for more than 3,000 years, and possibly as much as 5,000 years. They are Australia’s top predator and whilst the Dingoes on mainland Australia have bred with feral domestic dogs over the years; the Fraser Island Dingo has remained pure to their ancestry.
Their complex pack hierarchy makes every member of the pack as precious to their survival as each other. The typical life expectancy for a Fraser Island Dingo is only 7 years and with only the alpha male and female coming on heat once a year, unlike domestic dogs who come on heat twice so every Dingoes life is valuable to the populations survival.
QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) state on their website that their research ‘strongly suggests’ that there are more than 200 healthy Dingoes on Fraser Island. But locals past and present; some who have lived on the island for more than 40 years say that the 2001 culling’s have reduced the Dingo population so much, and changed their behaviour so much that it is highly probable that the population maybe as little as 100 and be in desperate need of protection.
Over 15 years after the mass culling’s and we are seeing far less Dingoes roaming the island. Independent studies by ecologists and researchers have confirmed locals and dingo activist’s claims that the Fraser Island dingo is in dire need of protection.
In the last 25 years many Dingoes have been destroyed. Dingoes are destroyed by QPWS as a consequence of negative interaction with visitors to the island and this continues to be the case today. We believe we could do more to aid the Dingoes natural survival rates and shouldn’t remain ignorant to the problem that we are creating. At Drop Bear Adventures we believe in education and that knowledge can help us live sustainably with the Dingoes.
The big question is, will we choose to protect the Dingo or our growing Tourist numbers? We have all heard the story of Yellow Stone National Park (http://www.yellowstonepark.com/wolf-reintroduction-changes-ecosystem/); would it be completely unmerited to think that Fraser Island could be yet another example of humans devastating our wildlife and obliviously destroying our precious eco system?
The Dingo is a naturally curious creature and their behaviour is often misunderstood. For over 20 years the local Indigenous people of the Butchella tribe have campaigned to raise awareness of the Dingoes plight, and thousands of dollars have been donated to independent research yet we are no closer to having the unified solution that we need to preserve our wild dingo.
Mumma and Poppa Bear have lived on Fraser Island for more than 6 years, they have spent over 45,000 hours touring around the island with our guests and have seen many things; some that haunt them and others that give them hope.
To support the experts in their conservation efforts and to help monitor the Dingo population we have launched our new Fraser Dingo Watch program on Instagram. You can help us by #tagging your Fraser Dingo Photos with #fraserdingowatch on instagram or facebook.
If you are interested to learn a whole lot more about the plight of the Dingo please follow Save the Fraser Island Dingo Inc and QPWS‘s website.
Team Drop Bear is dedicated to this cause and we will continue to do whatever we can to raise awareness of conservation for Dingoes. We always aim to help educate our guests on the importance of us doing the right thing so whether you are a local or visiting from overseas your behaviour is vital to these dogs very survival.