MINE RELOCATION: Ernie the dingo settles into life at Rockhampton Zoo.
MINE RELOCATION: Ernie the dingo settles into life at Rockhampton Zoo. Contributed

Rocky's new Ernie the dingo had life similar to Red Dog

IS Ernie the dingo Central Queensland's version of Red Dog?

Ernie recently moved in at Rockhampton Zoo having previously captured the hearts of those working at a Central Queensland mine site.

His story is similar to that of Red Dog, which was turned into a hit Australian movie in 2011.

Ernie started his life as a wild dingo born a couple of hours west of Mackay.

After his mum passed away, Ernie wandered into a mine site and was befriended by some of the workers there.

Ernie soon became a favourite within the mining site, and was named after one of the workers.

However, dingoes that become too humanised can be a risk to people, and the mine management made the hard decision to seek out a new home for him.

Chair of Council's Parks and Recreation Committee Cherie Rutherford said this was a very unique situation.

"There are strict laws surrounding the movement of dingoes in Queensland and what many people do not realise is that they are protected within National Parks," Cr Rutherford said.

"The mine approached Rockhampton Zoo about the possibility of providing Ernie with a permanent home, and luckily we were in a position to be able to make that a reality.

"As a zoo we are governed by strict regulations from Biosecurity Queensland that do now allow us to take dingoes from the wild. In addition, we do not usually have the space to house more dingoes at Rockhampton Zoo."

However, she said the zoo had lost one of its old dingoes in 2013, which meant that accommodation was available.

"In addition, Biosecurity Queensland granted Rockhampton Zoo special permission to re-locate Ernie from the mine to Rockhampton Zoo," Cr Rutherford said.

"Introducing a new dingo into an existing pack can be quite difficult. But, with the separate enclosure this has been made possible.

"Ernie can now be seen at Rockhampton Zoo, and I would like to encourage everyone to come and visit our newest member and make him feel welcome in our community."

Visit www.facebook.

com\RockhamptonZoo.

Leading movie

Red Dog is a 2011 Australian family film directed by Kriv Stenders and produced by Nelson Woss and Julie Ryan. The film is based on a true story from the novel Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres about Red Dog.

The dog a --- captures the hearts of the members of those in the mining community of Dampier, Western Australia.



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