Azaria’s sister training with dingoes in M'boro
ZAHRA Chamberlain has spent the past few days getting up close and personal with the dingoes at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary.
The 18-year-old, whose half-sister Azaria was taken by a dingo at Ayers Rock in 1980, has put aside a tragic family history to lend her voice to ensuring the future of the native animal.
Zahra is now devoting her time to becoming a dingo trainer and Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary curator Ray Revill says her knowledge is considerable.
Spending days in the company of dingoes at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary has made Ms Chamberlain admire the beauty of the native animal more than ever.
She has been an outspoken advocate for dingoes, despite the death of her half-sister Azaria, who was nine months old when she was taken by a dingo near Ayers Rock in 1980.
The 18-year-old travelled to Queensland from her home in Lake Macquarie earlier in the year to visit Simon Stretton's dingo sanctuary at Durong in the South Burnett.
Simon invited her to come and see the dingoes at his sanctuary after she left a post on a discussion of wild dogs. Her message: "I think dingoes are amazing. I don't hate them like my family would".
But even her family's feelings about dingoes is changing, thanks to her advocacy.
She said while it was still a sensitive issue for her family, they were completely supportive of her stance on dingoes.
"They're very supportive of what I am doing," Miss Chamberlain said.
She said she understood she was in a unique position to advocate for the future of dingoes and she was surprised by how well received she had been by people and the media.
Sanctuary curator Ray Revill described Zahra as being very knowledgeable about dingoes adding that the young woman hoped to return to the Fraser Coast and spend more time with the dingoes.
"That's her big passion," Mr Revill said.
"She knows her stuff."
He said he hoped her next visit would last for at least a week and would include a visit to Fraser Island, which is home to the purest strain of dingoes in the world.