President of the National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program, and animal research ethics expert, Dr Ian Gunn, stated today, Wednesday 20 August, 2014, that the recent destruction of three sub-adult dingoes on Fraser Island for an alleged ‘savage’ attack is a poor reflection upon the new Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service dingo management strategy.
After the recently concluded review of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy, which commenced in 2012 as a result of widespread public concern over the well-being of the Island’s dingo population,
'it is disappointing to find that the old ‘search and destroy’ response by the QPWS is continuing,’ Dr Gunn commented.
A key criticism of the previous dingo management strategy was that the QPWS systematically exaggerated the severity of incidents between dingoes and persons on the Island, resulting in the unnecessary destruction of many dingoes for minor incidents, mostly involving juveniles and sub-adult dingoes. The destruction of dingoes in these circumstances has been of long-standing concern to the NDPRP because QPWS research into the size and age/sex composition of the Fraser Island dingo population has been, and appears still to be, deficient and ad hoc.
‘The continued, incremental destruction of dingoes on Fraser Island is potentially threatening to the longer-term viability of the dingo population, given that the QPWS does not know the numbers of dingoes on the Island, including the number of breeding pairs, with sufficient certainty for good wildlife management’, Dr Gunn said.
While the NDPRP had hoped that the recently-concluded review of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy would improve the quality of the QPWS stewardship of the Island’s dingo population, it is now disappointed to find management falling back upon previous practices, which had little regard for conservation outcomes.
Dr Gunn highlighted the cautionary tone of the 2009 Audit of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy by Dingo expert, Dr Laurie Corbett, who stressed population data collection as,
‘... vital in estimating the current size and distribution of the Island dingo population, and thus
assessment of whether or not dingo numbers have been culled below a naturally sustainable level. (FIDMS Audit, 2009, p. 9)