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Be dingo-safe! on Fraser Island

derm.qld.gov.au / parks / fraser / dingo-safe Help protect dingoes and stay safe The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) take...


Help protect dingoes and stay safe

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) takes safety seriously. Keeping people as safe as possible, and alerting them to dangers, helps everyone on Fraser Island to work, live and visit safely.

Keeping the dingoes safe on Fraser Island is important too. Scientists believe that Fraser Island is one of the only places able to protect dingoes, possibly from extinction. The island is big enough—166,000 ha—to prevent inbreeding and is isolated enough to prevent cross-breeding. Since the Fraser Island dingo management strategy (PDF, 266K)* was implemented, dingoes on Fraser Island have almost returned to their natural way of life; that is, not depending on hand-outs from people.

The dingoes on Fraser Island roam all over the island. QPWS has installed fencing around most townships, the Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village and most of the QPWS campgrounds (except the beach camping areas).

Never leave anything lying around, as dingoes are curious. Even small oversights can make dingoes more fearless. Your actions can make a difference.

Help protect dingoes and stay safe when you’re on Fraser Island. Follow the guidelines below and ensure you always receive the most up-to-date visitor guide (in your permit pack) and read how to Be dingo-safe!
Dingo threats or attacks

Generally dingoes go about their lives and stay clear of people. Unhabituated dingoes have a natural fear of people and shy away. From time to time, dingoes may come close and some encounters can turn to tragedy. Stay alert and stay calm.
If you feel threatened
  • Stand still at your full height and fold your arms across your chest. 
  • Face the dingo, then calmly back away. 
  • If there’s more than one of you, stand back to back. 
  • Confidently call another adult. 
  • Wait until the dingo or dingoes are gone before you go on your way. 
  • Do not run or wave your arms. 
If you are attacked
Defend yourself aggressively and strike the dingo with an object such as a stick or backpack.

As soon as you can, report any negative incidents to a QPWS ranger.
Try to remember a few distinguishing features of the dingo:

Take note of the features of any threatening animal—all dingoes have unique variations, which makes identification easier.
Also see: How does an aggressive dingo behave?
Always stay very close to your children

Dingoes move quickly!
It is natural for a dingo to sit quietly sometimes and survey the territory or watch for prey. Dingoes may be closer than you think and they move quickly.

Children cannot be relied upon to know or remember what to do if threatened by dingoes. Some have been bitten by dingoes that have wanted food or were excited by children running and playing.

What looks like playful dog behaviour is often serious dominance-testing by dingoes. Children caught up in this display for dominance can be bitten or seriously mauled. Sadly, dingoes that bite people must be humanely destroyed, as they have lost their fear of people.

It is best for us and the dingoes, if we keep them at a distance.
Stay close and be alert

Adults! Stay very close—within arm's reach—of your children. Never leave children in tents, on beaches or walking tracks without adults; not even for a few minutes.

Your safety is our concern, but is your responsibility.
Also see: Dingoes and children
Never feed dingoes

Don’t have a dingo attack on your conscience

Dingoes that get their food from people may become aggressive. Do not leave food or food scraps lying around. What may have been an easy steal from your untended food, can lead to dingoes harassing other people for food—sometimes aggressively.

When going to the beach, take care not to set up a picnic on ground level. Dingoes are quickly attracted to food. Young children or babies sitting on a picnic rug or playing on the beach can get caught up in dingoes attempting to steal food, and could be nipped or bitten.

The good natural food that dingoes find on Fraser Island and the energy they use to patrol their territories, hunt, mate and generally live from day to day, means they are naturally lean.

Don’t be tricked into feeding a dingo because it looks hungry to you. Some leaner dingoes may be juveniles just starting out on their own or, if older, may be subordinate animals in the pack hierarchy. You will not be doing them a favour.

It is illegal to feed or offer food to dingoes; or any other wildlife. On-the-spot penalties apply.
Also see: What happens when people feed dingoes? and What makes a dingo a 'dangerous' dingo?
Walk in groups
People walking alone on Fraser Island have been threatened and bitten by dingoes. Whether walking along the beach, around a lake or on one of the many walking tracks on Fraser Island, it is safer to walk in small groups.

Do not let children run ahead. Keep them close to you—within arm's reach.

If you have to bush toilet while on a long-distance walking track, never go alone. Have one person stand watch for dingoes.
Also see: People-dingo interactions
Lock up your food stores and iceboxes

Dingoes open iceboxes, always lock food away.
Make your camp site boring to dingoes when you leave it for the day—store food and rubbish in locked containers.

Use campground food storage lockers for storing food, or backpacks that contain food.

Store all food inside your vehicle, not on top, and close all the doors. Photos: DERM

Dingoes will chew through or tear into anything when looking for food. They can and will open unsecured iceboxes, rubbish or food bags and if they have lost their natural fear of people, will snatch food lying about on picnic rugs or tables. Always think: Be dingo-safe!

Don’t take food and drink to lake shores.
Keep camp sites boring

If you need to leave your camp site set up, ensure you make the area ‘boring’ to dingoes. Leave nothing lying or flapping around that they can steal or tear at. Never leave food in tents or in open boxes under tarps. Dingoes will rip through tents to get at what they think smells like food, even some shampoos and toothpastes are attractants.

Travellers
Clean up everything and use vehicles as storage.

Store food, bait, berley, fish, iceboxes and rubbish—food scraps, soiled nappies, tampons etc—inside the vehicle, not on top, and close all the doors.
While cooking, leave no food unattended; not even scraps or spills.
Clean up straight after cooking and eating, or store dirty dishes inside a closed vehicle.
Pour dirty washing up water into a deep hole well away from your camp or use the washing up facilities at the campgrounds.
Remove all dingo attractants, including beer cans, juice and milk containers, empty cans, dish washing cloths and tea towels—anything that smells sweet or looks like food.

Walkers
Walkers may encounter dingoes on the tracks or in remote areas. The scent of food will attract dingoes. They may drag backpacks away or tear into them to get at food.

Never leave backpacks unattended.
Clean up everything before going to sleep.
Never leave backpacks in tents.
Use the campground’s food storage lockers, for food and backpacks (except valuables).
Socks, boots and jackets need to be stored as well.
Residents and holiday tenants

As well as the points above, please:
Ensure house doors and windows cannot be pushed open.
Keep compost and rubbish in secure containers.
Clean up barbecue areas and the cooking hotplate after use.
Close doors of parked vehicles.
Pack away your food scraps

Don't invite dingoes to your picnic. Pack away food and scraps as soon as you can. Photo: DERM

Dingoes are attracted by food scraps and smells. Even inside fenced campgrounds, rubbish and food left out will attract other wildlife, that can become a nuisance or dangerous.

Be dingo-safe no matter where you camp on Fraser Island. Remember it is an offence, whether in fenced or unfenced areas, to feed or leave food available for wildlife.
Clean all dishes and barbecue plates.
Immediately put rubbish bags in secured bins or vehicles.
Do not hang rubbish bags from trees or tent poles.
Dispose of rubbish correctly

All Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service waste transfer stations are fenced. Visitors enter and leave by a spring-loaded gate. This offers visitors a safe disposal area and keeps dingoes away from bins and the temptation to raid them. However, never leave rubbish or bags lying around. Bin everything.
Keep your rubbish in sealed containers until you get to the bins.
If a bin is full, use another.
Never go to the bins alone or at night.
Store fish and bait correctly

Dingoes eat fish. In fact dingoes are good fishers as well, but an open bucket of fish on the beach is just too tempting. Enjoy fishing on Fraser Island but avoid attracting dingoes. Penalties apply for feeding or making food available to dingoes.

Store bait and fish in shoulder bags or vehicles, not in beach buckets.
Fish cleaning in camp sites is prohibited.
Keep berley and fish remains in sealed containers—not hung on tents or bull bars.
Bury and cover your fish remains in a hole, at least 50 cm deep, just below the high tide mark.

Help stop dingoes associating food with fishers; bury fish remains when dingoes are not around.
Read and heed safety messages and signs

Information is available in brochures, web pages and on signs. For your safety and the survival of the dingoes on Fraser Island, read and heed the safety messages and ensure your group stays dingo-safe.

Safety is our concern, but is your responsibility.
What is food to a dingo?
As well as their natural diet, dingoes will take many things we may not regard as ‘dingo food’—bottles of cooking oil, sauces, spreads, food wrappers, fruit and vegetables, bait, lollies (candy), even soap, toothpaste and leather shoes.

Dingoes will learn to scavenge for food around camp sites by overturning or opening unsecured iceboxes, raiding rubbish bags, licking barbecue plates, drinking dirty washing up water and stealing from unattended picnic tables and tents.

While searching for food, dingoes might harass people or their children. Dingoes may try to intimidate people to scare them away from their picnic table or food boxes. If they succeed they are rewarded for their ploy and will try the same strategy at the next camp site. Soon they become aggressive and will nip or bite people who get in the way of their easy food.

Most visitors and residents on Fraser Island think very carefully about food storage and rubbish disposal. Be dingo-safe, keep food secured, never feed dingoes and don’t encourage them to come close. Your good actions will help dingoes remain wild and healthy animals.

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