Elder pleads with Fraser visitors to stop feeding dingoes

BUTCHULLA elder Marie Wilkinson says people have to realise dingoes are wild animals and "not their pet puppy" - and they don't need to be fed even if they look skinny.

Claims the island's dingoes are starving have long been made by dingo activists but Ms Wilkinson has spoken out, saying she doesn't believe this is true and that she's never seen a fat dingo.

"The average dingo is a lean kind of an animal," she said.

Ms Wilkinson said while Aborigines had traditionally lived alongside dingoes, that did not mean the dingo was discouraged from engaging in its normal hunting behaviour.

She doesn't think the dingoes on Fraser Island need any help from humans to get by.

Dingoes were cunning and shrewd animals, she said, and would normally raid a camp for any morsels of food only after people left the area.

She has seen tourists behaving foolishly with dingoes in the past, sometimes offering them food, and she tries to educate them on the behaviour of dingoes.

She believes it is important for dingoes to keep their hunting instincts and not become reliant on humans.

Tourists often felt they were being kind to the animals by giving them a bone or offering dingoes dog food, she said.

"I ask them: 'Have you been to Africa? Did you go out and give the lions food?'"

"Take photos, just don't feed them."

A lack of food on the island wasn't the main challenge facing the dingoes, she said, but rather the increasing number of people and vehicles on the island.

Ms Wilkinson spoke out on the changes to the State Government's dingo management strategy earlier this month and said there should be restrictions on the number of visitors and cars allowed on the island at any given time.

Neil Cambourn from the Department of National Parks said the Queensland government had included consultation with the Butchulla people in its recent comprehensive review of Fraser Island dingo management.

Topics:  butchulla dingoes elder feeding fraser island

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