Give wongari space as K’gari is their place

Issued: 2 Nov 2021

It is whelping season on K’gari (Fraser Island), and trail cameras set by the Department of Environment and Science (DES) have captured the young wongari (dingo) pups as they emerge from their dens.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Ranger in Charge Linda Behrendorff said the pups were between two and-three months old, and were on a steep learning curve.

“The pups are learning natural hunting and survival skills from their parents and carers, so it is critical that people leave them alone and don’t get too close,” Ms Behrendorff said.

“They’re being weaned and are now feeding on the types of food they’ll eat for the rest of their lives.

“Limiting wongari-human interaction is important for the pups’ welfare as they venture out of their dens and explore the island.

“The pups are usually part of a pack that includes two adults and one or more sub adults, and the pups are curious and skittish and don’t like being too far from parents.

“The trail cameras show there are plenty of natural prey species on the island, including wallabies and bandicoots to support the dingo population.

“They also get access to marine animals that wash ashore. Seasonally there are plentiful sources of fruits such as midgen berry.

“To avoid the pups and their pack becoming habituated, people are reminded to store all food securely and secure all rubbish, fish and bait.”

Ms Behrendorff said the trail cameras had captured a pack of pups outside the den and nursery area during the day and at night.

“They are sniffing the air and wandering about and one of the pups is eating food left by mum and learning how to protect it from the other pups,” she said.

“During whelping time, wongari mums may be determined and aggressive while searching for food for their pups, and mums will aggressively defend their young.

“So people really need to be dingo-safe, and give them plenty of space.

“People are also reminded that there are fines for interacting and deliberately or inadvertently feeding wongari.

“Wongari mums that are feeding pups can also lose conditioning and become naturally lean during this time.

“It is amazing to see wongari pups on the island, and to stay safe they’re best observed from a distance.”

Be dingo-safe on K’gari

  • Carry a stick.
  • Never feed dingoes.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of children, even small teenagers.
  • Walk in groups.
  • Do not run. Running or jogging can trigger a negative dingo interaction.
  • Camp in fenced areas when possible.
  • Lock up food stores and iceboxes (even on a boat).
  • Never store food or food containers in tents.
  • Secure all rubbish, fish and bait.

Report dingo encounters – email, tell the nearest QPWS ranger, or phone (07) 4127 9150 – mobile phone charges may apply. Take note of location, vehicle registration, dingo ear tag colour, number and which ear.

For further information about dingoes on Fraser Island please visit K'gari (Fraser Island) dingoes.

Footage of the pups is available in the media centre.