Dingo Safety on K’Gari

Dingos from Australia

K’Gari (formerly known as Fraser Island) has a large and healthy population of Dingoes (Wongari).  They are one of Australia’s top predator. Due to their isolatation on K’Gari they have remained pure and are classed as their own unique species of Dingo. Dingos have been on K’gari for thousands of years. They are not something to be feared if you are prepared, but they do deserve our respect. They may look cute and cuddly but these are predators and will act unpredictably.

The truth is most encounters with dingos pass without incident. For the majority of travellers, it’s one of the highlights of their stay. Many of the dingos have a natural fear of humans, however more and more are becoming confident around humans. This is due to people either attempting to feed them or leaving scraps for them to rifle through. K’gari is such a beautiful island it can be easy to relax and become complicit. And of course you are much safer if you stay with larger groups as Dingo’s will generally avoid them. But if you decide to find somewhere a little more private to catch a tan on Lake Mckenzie you may find yourself joined by some unwanted guests.

Am I safe in the residential areas?

The majority of the populated area on K’Gari is surrounded by a dingo fence, so you are safe to wander around in its vicinity. There is no way a dingo can penetrate this fence so you are completely safe. However as soon as you head out of its gate you have to take precautions.

First off whenever you leave the safety of the fence bring a Dingo stick. These are brightly coloured plastic pipes that the dingos see as a threat. They may look silly but dingos see these bright colours and know to keep a wary distance.

How should you act if you see a dingo?

The first thing is to keep your cool, if you act like a threat then the dingo will see you as one. Make sure you back away slowly. Dingoes don’t want to hurt you, but if you run for the hills you can trigger a “chase” instinct. You can’t outrun one, the dingo will reach you before you have reached anywhere near safety.

Stand confidently at full height with your arms crossed, and travel in a group if you can. If one of you spots a dingo it’s best to stand back to back in case there is another behind. Wait until the dingo has moved on before you continue on your journey.

Dingo drinking water on Kgari Fraser Island in Australia

How can I avoid attracting a dingo?

Never be tempted to feed the dingos, if they get used to taking food from humans then they will get bolder and more aggressive towards travellers in the future. Make sure to keep all food sealed, and throw away any rubbish when you are finished. It is recommended you don’t eat at all at places such as Lake Mckenzie,  they have a designated lunch spot that is fenced off so you can enjoy your food safely and in peace.

A dingoes natural diet means that it is lean, do not be tricked into feeding one, you will not be helping it at all. If one is looking particularly lean then this could either be because it is a juvenile or it is lower down in its pack hierarchy.  Feeding a dingo is actually an offence, and if you are caught doing so, or feeding any other wildlife for that matter, it can result in an on-the-spot fine. This is classed as a 3 penalty unit fine (1 penalty unit = AU$133.45 as of July 2019).

How can I keep my camp safe?

If you are camping on K’gari, there are many campsites that are surrounded by a perimeter fence to keep you safe. However some spots like the beach campsite do not. When you camp here make sure you lock away any containers, don’t keep food in a basic icebox as dingoes are smart and have been known to break into them.

Will a dingo try and take my backpack?

Yes, under no circumstances leave your backpack unattended. Dingoes can and will drag it away or rip into it if they suspect that it contains food. Make sure you store any food or rubbish inside the bag and not on the top, give them no reason to come close and you will be safe.

Am I allowed to go running?

Running can trigger a “chase” instinct in dingos. Even if you don’t see one when you start running or even jogging if one sees you it may give chase. It is recommended you walk if you need to go anywhere outside the fenced-off areas.

Whats the safest way to travel K’Gari?

The safest and easiest way to visit K’Gari is on a tour. I have attached a link below to Get Your Guide making it easier for you to find and book one. By booking through the link it won’t cost you any extra but it may mean I get a commission which helps support my blog.

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