A dingo roaming on Fraser Island.
A dingo roaming on Fraser Island.

Human-dingo conflict the focus of bold new uni study

A QUEENSLAND university is aiming to develop a project looking at conflict between people and dingoes on Fraser Island.

The cross-disciplinary project from Queensland University of Technology will involve the fields of environmental science and governance, focusing on the human-dingo relationship and conflict.

"The PhD project will provide an unprecedented opportunity to work across disciplines to investigate the socio-ecological aspect of that conflict," a statement from the university reads.

"In 2019, the Fraser Island Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy underwent a major review following an increased number of negative human-wongari interactions.

"In some circumstances those interactions led to injury and hospitalisation of the people involved, and euthanasia of the wongari (the Butchulla name for dingoes).

"One of the outcomes of the review was an acknowledgment that the behaviour of the island's wongari is consistently managed and recorded, while the behaviour and attitudes of the island's residents and visitors are less well documented."

LONELY BEACH: A dingo was the only creature in sight at the normally busy Indian Head beach on K'Gari, Fraser Island.
LONELY BEACH: A dingo was the only creature in sight at the normally busy Indian Head beach on K'Gari, Fraser Island.

The university is hoping to examine local and visitor attitudes towards dingoes as well as views on the euthanasia of dingoes.

It will also gather thoughts about management strategies, such as separation via fencing, tagging, the use of tracking collars, carrying a stick when walking to act as a deterrent and education messages about the importance of securing food and not feeding dingoes on the island.

It comes as a female dingo had its tracking collar remotely removed on the island last week.

The dingo remains the subject of scrutiny after a number of high risk encounters with tourists.

The project will also study how people feel about proposed management strategies, such as tourists being required to complete a checklist or questionnaire acknowledging safe dingo practises.

It will also ask people for their views on the use of aversion collars to separate dingoes from people, and restricting visitor numbers on the island.

Attitudes towards legal restrictions on dingo interactions, as well as reasons for noncompliance, would also be examined, the statement said.

Eligibility requirements to take on the project include first class honours or the equivalent in an environmental science, social science or law degree and demonstrated expertise in research on the socio-ecological issues.

To make an application, send an expression of interest outlining your eligibility to katie.woolaston@qut.edu.au.