A man has received a fine after ignoring well-known rules and feeding two wongari (dingoes) and setting them on the path to habituation on K’gari (formerly known as Fraser Island).
The 58-year-old Queensland man was filmed by a member of the public on Thursday 7 September enticing and attempting to hand-feed the wongari at Eastern Beach adjacent to Poyungan Valley.
On Friday, rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) tracked the man down and issued him with a $2,476 Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN).
Manager Compliance Optimisation Mike Devery says the man knew he was breaking the rules, and rangers were thankful that a member of the public had recorded the incident and provided it to them.
“This man has made a dangerous decision to feed and interact with wongari, and his actions could cause legacy issues on the island,” Mr Devery says.
“It can take one incident like this to set wongari on the path to habituation, and now these wongari have been fed, they might associate people with food.
“Rangers will have to monitor these wongari closely to ensure they retain their natural wariness of people, and don’t start approaching people or lingering around camping areas.
“One wongari that is becoming habituated can influence their pack – this man has fed two of them and we make no apology for handing out fines to people for their irresponsible behaviour.
“Our number one priority is to keep people on K’gari safe and conserve the population of wongari and this man has potentially put lives at risk.”
Mr Devery says rangers could not believe someone would choose to deliberately feed wongari after recent incidents received a lot of publicity.
“Sadly, we have euthanised three habituated wongari in 2023, including one at the weekend because people ignored the rules,” he says.
“QPWS rangers are extremely frustrated by this man, because each day we deliver Be Dingo-safe! messaging to visitors and campers.
“And that includes never deliberately feeding wongari and never interacting with them, which this man has completely ignored.
“Residents and visitors to the island must not behave in a way that puts themselves, other people or wongari at risk.
“Most residents and visitors to the island do not accept this type of behaviour, and rangers receive a lot of information from members of the public about inappropriate behaviour around wongari.”
People are encouraged to be dingo-safe and report any concerning dingo encounters by calling 07 4127 9150 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org