Dingoes of Fraser Island

Over the Easter holidays my family and I enjoyed a camping holiday to Fraser Island. 
We made camp several times, twice on the East coast and then once over to the West allowing us to see as much of the island as possible.
The flora and fauna on the island is varied and nothing short of breathtaking. We saw all manner of bird life (Pelicans included, alike to my piece “Mister Percival” as pictured below).
Pelican Paper Art by Carrie Birch from Tambella Arts
Pictured is “Mister Percival” the Pelican. Native wildlife on Fraser Island reminded me of the pelican that inspired this piece.
We also saw dingoes.
After our first night of camping we were alerted to their presence by paw prints that snaked right through our camp and past our sleeping swag. Our second morning, we saw them come right past our camp in the daylight (as pictured below).
Camping on Fraser Island and seeing Dingoes up close
Dingoes often came close to our camp. Pictured you can see my husband at the front of our camp, with my son behind him as a dingo investigates our camp from the beach on the East Coast of Fraser Island
Fraser Island dingoes are the purest strain of dingoes in Australia, due to their isolation on the island and lack of interbreeding with domesticated or wild dogs. They are beautiful animals, and are the apex predator on Fraser.
Dingoes are primarily scavengers.  We were given excellent guidance by the rangers on Fraser on our first day of camping. To treat these wild animals with the respect they deserve. Keep all our food and waste locked away in vehicles and ensure our kids were in arms reach  at any given moment.  Basically, we were not to give the dingoes any reason to come close to us or our camp.  They are opportunists, and have been known to regularly tuck into any food or rubbish left in accessible spot by humans.
We followed these rules and had no negative interactions with these animals. They regarded us with mild curiosity.  Showing no fear of humans and we saw them often during our 8 days skirting close to camp, but not approaching us directly.
On our return from Fraser, we saw news coverage just days after we had left the island of a 14 month old boy, being dragged by a dingo from his  family’s camper trailer tent, while his family slept.  His father alerted to the incident, by his son’s cries becoming more distant.
You can read more about the incident here.
My family and friends who ventured with us to Fraser were conscious and wary of these animals prior to our trip.
I feel privileged and lucky to have seen them so up close in their ‘natural’ habitat. However it is clear to me that these animals have no fear of people.  The rangers advised us that some visitors to the island feed the dingoes intentionally to draw them closer for photo opportunities, and thus they are associating the presence of people with food.
I feel for the team who is responsible for managing the dingo population on Fraser.  This latest incident is very disconcerning, such a brazen attack in which a sleeping child is taken from inside a camping trailer reflects this animal’s lack of fear of humans.
Holiday makers are the lifeblood of the island, and these visitor’s safety is of course paramount.
However, I kept telling my young boys during our visit, this is the dingo’s home, we are only visitors and we need to respect these wild animals, keep our distance. Be simply onlookers and not impact their natural activity as much as possible.
They are amazing creatures, Fraser is their home and we need to respect we are visitors to their turf.
This final shot was taken on our last day on the island. Two dingoes padded along the back side vehicles waiting for the barge back to Inskip Point. These two were literally right outside our vehicle when this shot was taken.
Dingoes on Fraser Island
Two Dingoes on Fraser Island up close, as we were leaving on the ferry from our family camping trip.

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