‘Dangerous and foolish’: Rangers forced to close camps
Four campgrounds on popular World Heritage-listed Fraser Island will remain temporarily closed until mid-year, due to ongoing issues with campers feeding dingoes.
The Department of Environment and Science confirmed it would extend the closure of Eli, Maheno, Guluri and Wahba campgrounds until June.
The closures were first made in September, 2020, "as a result of human interactions with dingoes at popular locations like Eli Creek, Maheno and Happy Valley".
Range in charge Linda Behrendorff said the closures were for safety reasons, because some residents and visitors had been feeding dingoes or deliberately interfering with them.
"Unfortunately, that behaviour by day visitors has continued, leaving us with no choice but to extend the temporary closure until June 30 for these popular campgrounds," she said.
"These campgrounds will not be reopened until this dangerous and foolish behaviour by day visitors and residents on the island stops.
"Day visitors and residents have to understand that their behaviour has a direct impact on the wongari (dingoes) and the next group of people who visit or camp on the island.
"Feeding or deliberately interfering with wongari can habituate them, which puts people and the wongari in danger."
Ms Behrendorff said people seeking selfies with dingoes were "extremely selfish" and park rangers had zero tolerance for people who intentionally feed or interfere with dingoes.
"In 2020, rangers issued 18 Penalty Infringement Notices (PINS) to people for dingo offences, and so far this year rangers have issued three PINS," Ms Behrendorff said.
"Earlier this month, two men, who encouraged a juvenile wongari to smell and lick their hands at Orchid Beach, received fines totalling $4270.
"Rangers have also recently trapped and inserted ear tags on six wongari around other popular campsites and residential areas, for ongoing monitoring due to the poor behaviour of humans."
The Department encouraged people to report any negative dingo encounters to a park ranger or phone 07 4127 9150, or email email@example.com as soon as possible.