Wongari injured on K’gari by fishhooks

Issued: 9 Nov 2022

Photo of a young wongari which had fishhooks caught in its front left leg.Open larger image

The young wongari had fishhooks caught in its front left leg.

Rangers on K’gari (Fraser Island) are continuing the search for a wongari (dingo) that was seen with fishing hooks embedded in its front right paw and fishing line wrapped around its leg.

Ranger in Charge Linda Behrendorff said rangers received a report from a concerned member of the public who spotted the wongari pup with fishhooks in its leg near the Waddy Point camping area.

“Visitors and residents are reminded that they must be careful while fishing from the island, and keep their fishing tackle boxes closed and attempt to retrieve broken fishing line where safe,” Ms Behrendorff said.

“Where possible, fishers should not leave bait attached to hooks under any circumstances, as this can attract wongari and get them snared.

“Earlier this week, rangers tracked the wongari between Waddy Point and the Binghi Sandblow but could not get close enough to attempt to capture it.

“The animal seemed to be jumping around and was yelping, it stopped yelping and we lost sight of it in the thick bush and despite searching the area for another hour, we couldn’t find it.

“Because it stopped yelping and was able to move quickly out of sight suggests that it either managed to pull the hooks out or the line tangled on the thick bush and ripped out the embedded hooks.

“There is a risk of infection, and there is the chance the hooks are still embedded in the leg, and if anyone sees the wongari, it can be reported to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

“Daily beachfront patrols have also been conducted between Waddy Point and Binngih, including a climb up to the top of the sand blow to look for fresh prints but we have not sighted the wongari.”

Ms Behrendorff said wongari occasionally ended up with hooks embedded in their bodies, including a pup with a lure embedded in its lip in January 2021.

“That’s why it is so important for fishers to make sure wongari cannot get access to tackle boxes or baited hooks,” she said.

“If we find the wongari and confirm that the hooks are still embedded, it will have to be sedated, the hooks removed and the wound cleaned with antiseptic.

“We don’t know how the hooks became embedded in the wongari’s leg, but I’d like to remind all visitors and residents to the island to keep their food and bait secure, and never feed wongari.

“People who break the law by deliberately feeding or interacting with dingoes, or failing to secure their food and rubbish, can expect a fine or to appear in court.”

Report all wildlife entanglements with fishing equipment to rangers by calling 07 4127 9150 or emailing dingo.ranger@des.qld.gov.au as soon as possible.