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K'gari Fraser Island locals witness dingo chasing wallaby into ocean

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 22/12/2021
Rangers say there is no shortage of food for the island's dingoes. (ABC Wide Bay: Nicole Hegarty, file photo) © Provided by ABC NEWS Rangers say there is no shortage of food for the island's dingoes. (ABC Wide Bay: Nicole Hegarty, file photo)

It is a sight most visitors of K'gari Fraser Island will never witness but one that wildlife experts say happens every day.

A dingo has been filmed by rangers chasing a wallaby into the ocean before resting next to its captured prey.

Island resident Leesa Downey was driving along the beach when she also spotted the apex predator, known as wongari in native language, in action.

"I came across two dingoes just casually lying beside the ocean there in the sunshine," Ms Downey said.

"Then I noticed the wallaby was next to them as well, so at that point I realised that they had chased the wallaby down [into the ocean] as they do.

"That's how nature works."

When Ms Downey came across the dingo pair, they had yet to hook into their meal.

"I looked at his belly and I thought, 'Oh well, he's just had a big feed', and then I realised the wallaby was still intact," she said.

"If they were starving like everyone says, one would imagine they would be having a go trying to eat it."

Bucking myths

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service's (QPWS) ranger in charge on K'gari, Linda Behrendorff, said visitors witnessed dingo hunts around four or five times a year.

"It's something we don't see often but regularly enough to know it's a common occurrence," she said.

Ms Behrendorff said the wallaby would feed a pack of dingoes for up to two weeks, but added that at this time of year, the predators had a smorgasbord of food to choose from.

"You have got your juveniles that are coming out of the dens looking for food and learning to hunt as well.

"As a family pack they might hunt down wallabies or individually hunt down bandicoot.

"But they've also got coastal resources – turtles are nesting this time of year as well, so they'll not only get into the adult turtles but also eat the eggs.

"Everything is breeding so it's a pretty busy time of year for food sources."

Don't feed the dingoes

With school holidays in full swing and borders re-opened, Ms Behrendorff said it was a timely reminder that dingoes should not be fed by visitors.

"There is plenty of food on this island to sustain a viable dingo population," she said.

"We do not need people to supplementarily feed them.

"Do not try to call them over, do not put yourself in that situation, and do not put the dingo in that situation as well."

Ms Downey said holiday makers should follow suit of the locals.

"Anytime that I ever see a dingo on the island, I let them do their dingo thing," she said.

"As the Butchulla people say: Give wongari space, K'gari is their place."


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