Every year we seem to hear more and more stories of Dingo attacks on this island paradise. And what a terrible way to potentially ruin your family holiday it would be. Is it that this information is becoming ever more accessible with the increase in technology sharing, or is it that undesirable interactions are occurring more because humans are becoming more stupid? Well, it is likely a mixture of both.
The Dingo is an incredible animal, thought to have been introduced by our northerly island neighbours about 4,000 years ago. It is a tough survivor and just like any wild native animal, it deserves space to go about its business.
There has been one major problem though. Humans are now the biggest threat to Dingo survival on K’gari.
Through deliberate ignorance, like feeding and enticing them ‘for a selfie’ and by not observing simple camp rules like keeping food and refuse secured, we have unwittingly taught this apex predator human reliance; we have created the perfect storm.
Would we go swimming and try to entice sharks closer with chum? Would we visit wild Africa and surround our camps with meat and fresh kills to tempt lions? Hell no, it’s unthinkable.
The Dingo is sadly a victim of being closely related to our loveable four-legged pets… and some exceptionally stupid humans.
So, how do we enjoy a K’gari trip safely with the family? It’s actually very easy, just follow these steps…
Book an enclosed fenced camp area
Or one of the resorts like Kingfisher or Eurong. There are several options on the island, all are clearly labelled on the QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) site when you pre-book your stay. This is by far the safest option if you have children. If not, you can still have a great trip but will need to be more vigilant.
Make your camp as boring for Dingoes as possible
Do not leave food, rubbish, toiletries, bait, fish or anything else inviting lying around your campsite. Or even inside your tent. Hiding your food in your tent, spare wheel bag or hung up on a tree only presents an interesting challenge and reason for a Dingo to linger. They have seen it all, well before you, so think smart. The safest place to store these items is in your car, closed canopy or at a designated dump station. With a keen sense of smell, Dingoes may be attracted from afar and come in to investigate. When they do, (and most mornings you WILL wake to find footprints through your camp) they will quickly move on and leave you alone. So will the Rangers who may fine you if you don’t do the right thing.
Keep your distance
As tempted as you may be to approach and get a sub-standard memory on your iPhone, just don’t be that person. Let them be along their way, give them space and never approach a Dingo. If you are catching fish or when nature calls bury your offal and number twos 50cm below the sandy surface. It’s not hard to shovel away sand that deep and if you do it away from camp, you are not sending an invite.
Always walk in groups
NEVER leave children or young teenagers alone even if it’s a short walk from the beach to camp. Walk with a long stick or similar at hand at all times (even a fishing rod) and if a Dingo or group of Dingoes approach, stand tight and tall looking in all directions. Never run. Own and protect your space until they move on. If you need to venture away from camp, have someone stand by closely. It really is safety in numbers here. Never let a child or even an adult, venture alone, especially at night around camp.
Be extra vigilant in popular tourist destinations
Such as Eli Creek, Waddy Point and Maheno shipwreck regions. These are the areas where Dingoes have the most interaction with humans and are most likely to act boldly, even during the middle of the day, where they have learned that it’s a good time to get a feed and feel safe to approach closely.
Links to check out
Parks QLD has some great info on their website, you should definitely check it out before visiting K’Gari.
Stefan Fischer, a friend of Unsealed 4×4 and the man behind the YouTube channel AllOffroad 4WD Adventures filmed this video, with the author of this article, Scott Mason. It started off as a typical trip to K’Gari, minus the sandfly assault. If you skip to the 11 minute mark, you can see Stefan and Scott chat about a potentially serious dingo event that happened to them.