Interact with dingoes and you’ll be fined

Issued: 4 March 2020

The Department of Environment and Science is urging visitors to K’gari (Fraser Island) to stop taking dangerous risks after three people were fined in one week for interacting with dingoes.

Reported interactions with dingos have decreased by more than 16 percent since the Queensland Government introduced tough new penalties, but some visitors to K’gari are still not getting the message.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Acting Regional Director Marc Dargusch said visitors who behaved illegally were discovering the department’s zero tolerance approach to feeding or interacting with dingoes.

“If people are careless enough to feed or interact with a dingo then they can expect a $2135 on-the-spot fine,” Mr Dargusch said.

“I am dismayed that we’ve had to fine three people in a week for feeding or interacting with dingoes, and clearly some of our visitors to the island have to change their attitudes.

“A fed dingo quickly becomes a habituated dingo. People who feed dingoes are putting other people in danger and they’re putting the dingoes at risk.

“QPWS rangers and the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) are committed to keeping people safe and maintaining a healthy and sustainable dingo population, and that’s why we are handing out these fines.

“Please be warned, because we have tour group operators, island residents and visitors who are happy to provide photos and other evidence resulting in stiff penalties for people who feed or deliberately interact with dingoes.”

Mr Dargusch said rangers know which dingoes have been fed by visitors, because they have no natural wariness of people and approach vehicles and campsites for food.

“This foolish behaviour has to stop, because the dingoes on K’gari are naturally slender, have access to plenty of food and they are not starving,” he said.

“Rangers, and the BAC will continue to provide dingo-safe education to help prevent visitors feeding or interacting with dingoes.

“When dingo-safe education doesn’t work, rangers have been instructed to issue fines where necessary, and this includes for failing to properly secure food and rubbish.”

Recent fines details:

  • 27 February – a person fined for feeding a dingo a biscuit
  • 2 March – a person fined for attracting a dingo for a FaceTime video
  • 3 March – a person fined for dropping food and attracting a dingo for photos

Mr Dargusch said dingoes on K’gari needed to be left alone to roam free without fear of being fed, encouraged, enticed or put at risk.

“Word is really getting around now amongst the tourists and tour operators that people who feed or interact with dingoes put everyone in danger.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has provided photos and evidence to our rangers that led to these fines being issued.

“Anyone who breaks the law anytime, anywhere, by disturbing dingoes is going to cop a big fine.”

People are encouraged to report any negative dingo encounters to a QPWS ranger or by phoning 07 4127 9150 or emailing dingo.ranger@des.qld.gov.au as soon as possible.

Visitors to K’gari are reminded to be dingo safe at all times:

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

Visit About Fraser Island dingoes for more information.