Jennifer Parkhurst, who has been photographing dingoes on Fraser Island for seven years, speaks at Noosa Parks Association.
Jennifer Parkhurst, who has been photographing dingoes on Fraser Island for seven years, speaks at Noosa Parks Association. Geoff Potter

'Target humans not dingoes'

A FRASER Island dingo activist says parents and guardians of unsupervised children who get bitten should face tougher penalties.

It was one of many suggestions made by Wildlife photographer Jennifer Parkhurst, from Save Fraser Island Dingoes, when she addressed a full house at the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre last Friday.

During her speech, featuring her work videotaping and photographing the activities of dingoes, she slammed the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), calling for immediate changes to stop culling and other practices.

Her call for tougher penalties for parents and guardians who failed to properly supervise their children on the island, followed the latest incident when a three-year- old girl was bitten on the leg by a dingo while waiting to board a barge with her family.

“We want a change to the management strategy, because clearly it’s not working. We need to stop the fear campaign,” she said.

“People go to Fraser Island and react the wrong way then dingoes approach them.

“There should be rangers in key areas to better educate people about what to do.”

Ms Parkhurst also suggested introducing random food drops to the island.

“Starvation is caused by human intervention, and it should be stopped by human interaction,” she said.

“Drop the food into the bush, the dingoes will go there and be safe and happy.”

Other dingo management issues included dingo pups being ear-tagged as young as three months, causing their ears to droop and preventing them from hunting appropriately.

She said in some cases it was believed adult dingoes rejected their pups once they had been handled by people.

Conditioning practices, including hazing, where a clay marble is shot from a slingshot at the animal to deter it away from people, were disruptive to the dingoes’ natural instinctive behaviour.

“Stop the hazing, stop tagging pups, enforce fines for parents not paying attention to children and make people aware that wild animals live there,” she said.

Ms Parkhurst’s story was featured in an episode of ABC’s Australian Story earlier this year.