A controversial GPS tracking collar has been removed from a dingo on K’gari (Fraser Island).
- Local dingo activists have held concerns about the impact of GPS collars on dingoes
- The Queensland Government says collars have had no impact on dingo welfare
- Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch says the Government is discussing the future of the dingo collar program with K’Gari traditional owners
The female dingo is known as R18F and wears a yellow tag. It wore the 500-gram collar for 13 months.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) said tracking the dingo was part of an important behavioural monitoring project that was now completed.
Local dingo activist group Save Fraser Island Dingoes welcomed the removal after concerns about the dog’s weight earlier this year.
But the department said the dingo had been monitored and showed no ill effects from the collar.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife rangers will continue to monitor the dingo.
Save Fraser Island Dingoes spokeswoman Cheryl Bryant says the group support the GPS collar program “if it keeps dingoes from being destroyed”.
She said the yellow-tagged dingo was considered “high risk” and the tracking collar was placed on her in May 2019 to track her movements and interactions with visitors after “a number of negative encounters with tourists were reported”.
“Queensland Parks and Wildlife made it clear that if she had not been collared last year she would have been destroyed,” Ms Bryant said.
Island closure sees dingoes revert to natural behaviours
When K’gari was closed to visitors earlier this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the DES reported animals returned to more traditional, natural behaviour, a pattern that was true for R18F.
“Before the COVID-19 closure of K’gari, the collared wongari (dingo) was regularly seen around campgrounds, permanent residences and popular beaches,” a department spokesperson said.
“Following the island’s closure her behaviour was typical wongari behaviour.
“She interacted with other dingoes, visited inland areas and hunted for her own food.
“Since K’gari reopened, the wongari is behaving like she did prior to the closure, with tracking indicating she is frequenting areas where she may be deliberately or inadvertently fed by visitors.”
Ms Bryant said it was “imperative” that visitors gave the dingo “space”.
“This applies to all the K’gari dingoes.
“Stay vigilant and report anyone behaving inappropriately.”
Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen asked Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch in Parliament in July when the Government would no longer use “outdated, over-weighted, oversized monitoring collars, to track the Fraser Island dingo”.
The Minister responded this month.
“Discussions are currently underway with Traditional Owners about the future of the program,” Ms Enoch said.