A photo taken of Yellow Tag this month.
A photo taken of Yellow Tag this month.

Concerns held for ‘high risk’ dingo after collar removed

A DINGO advocacy group fears there may be little reason to celebrate the removal of a tracking collar on one of the animals on Fraser Island.

While Save the Fraser Island Dingoes have long supported the removal of the collar, Cheryl Bryant, a member of the group, said it was important not to lose sight of why the collar was placed on the dingo in the first place.

The dingo, known as Yellow Tag, is considered a high risk animal and the collar was used to track her as well as gather data on behaviour and movements.

"The tracking collar was placed on her in May, 2019, to track her movements and interactions with visitors as a number of negative encounters with tourists were reported," Ms Bryant said.

"The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service made it clear that if she had not been collared last year she would have been destroyed.

"Under the Fraser Island Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy (2013) any dingo that is 'assessed as posing an unacceptable risk to human safety based on the history of behaviour' is to be euthanised.

"This could well have been the fate of this animal."

While restrictions were in place due to coronavirus, the behaviour of the dingo changed significantly, according to the Department of Environment and Science.

Instead of spending her time in populated areas, the dingo went inland to hunt.

But since the island reopened, she has reverted to her former behaviour and had a high-risk encounter last month.

"According to QPWS, the study has provided valuable behavioural information," Ms Bryant said.

Interacting with the pregnant dingo could be a death warrant for the animal, Ms Bryant fears.

"Therefore it is imperative that visitors give her space.

"Do not attempt to approach her for a photo or feed her because they think she is 'skinny'. "This applies to all the K'gari dingoes.

"Stay vigilant and report anyone behaving inappropriately.

"The question is now that QPWS have collected this 'once in a lifetime, valuable data', how will this information be used to protect the dingo population?

"Yellow Tag's story is not over, we hope it is just beginning."

The dingo's collar was remotely removed this week.

"Data collected from the monitoring project has improved QPWS understanding of dingo behaviour and movements and will be used to inform future wongari management practices, and help keep wongari (the Butchulla word for dingo), residents and visitors on K'gari safe," a spokesman from the department said.

"Residents and visitors to the island are reminded never to feed the wongari."

On-the-spot fines for feeding or interacting with dingoes range from a minimum of $2135 per offence, to a maximum of $10,676.

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