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Dingoes on Fraser Island—Tourism Dream or Management Nightmare

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Fraser Island is a unique tourist destination catering to more than 300,000 visitors annually. A significant attraction of the World Heritage-listed island are the dingoes, which are regarded as one of the purest strains in Australia. The dingo population is estimated to be between 150 and 200 animals and their conservation is of national significance. Concerns have long been expressed about the potential for dangerous interactions between dingoes and humans. As visitation to the Island has increased, aspects of the environment have changed and dingoes have altered their normal habits. Management practices have focussed on removing unnatural food sources, such as open rubbish dumps, and educating the public. On April 30, 2001, dingoes mauled a 9-year-old boy to death and the public demanded firm management decisions. However, the fundamental question remained. Do we manage the animals or the people? Public opinion was polarised. This article describes the issues and politics of managing dingoes and tourists on Fraser Island, and highlights how a single serious incident can influence management decisions.

Keywords: conservation; dingo; policy; tourism; wildlife management

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: 2003-04-01

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