Dingoes on Fraser Island, Australia are dying of starvation, with sand and grass in their stomachs. One woman tried to alert the world to this and was sentenced and fined for her trouble. On 25th of August 2012 Jennifer Parkhusrt received a national award from the in recognition of outstanding contributions to the preservation and protection of Australian native Wildlife. What a contrast to the treatment she received from the Queensland government!
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Dingoes on Fraser Island are protected because of their purity. This may be, at first sight an ideal situation and would find acceptance by most people and dog- or specifically dingo lovers. As for the tourist trade it has boosted the numbers of tourists to the island who wanted to have a dingo experience. From the outside it looked very good and only very committed people objectively examined how these beautiful creatures are actually managed.
One of these people is Jennifer Parkhurst and I refer to her as the Dingo Lady who has lived on Fraser Island for seven Years. She loves and adores dingoes and has observed them throughout the island. She scrutinized their behavior and took hundreds of photos of them. Her entire life was committed to them.
Frazer Island dingo pups dying of starvation, eating sand and grass
To her horror she discovered that most of the dingoes were starving and only ten percent of pups survived to adulthood. Stomachs examined of dead pups contained only grass and sand. This is partly the result of the shooting of their parents while they are desperately searching for food along the beach where tourists, who do not know how to behave, make reports of “dangerous” dingoes. But it is not only the pups that are starving. Her photos show adults with all their ribs clearly visible. When the alpha female goes looking for food and returns, her pups run eagerly towards her only to realize that she did not find food for them. Then, they scratch around in the soil to possibly find a grub or they chew on bark of woody plants like rabbits do in drought situations.
There is no game to hunt for dingoes on this island. They have become desperate scavengers and beach combers.
To make matters worse, large areas are unnecessarily burnt, reducing their food source and shelter even further. If one would examine the food remains found in their droppings the way it is done regularly in food habit studies on the mainland, it would surely expose embarrassing results. Often dingoes are ear-tagged and radio-collared unnecessarily as if they were criminals in order to follow their movements on this restricted island. Culling dingoes, especially adults, has serious implications for their family structure and learning, resulting in subsequent misbehavior and breeding problems. If this maltreatment of dogs in refuge and dog shelters occurred, the owners of these shelters would certainly be heavily fined and their shelters closed. What then is the difference on Fraser Island?
What is it about dingoes and women that bothers Australian governments so?
And now back to a REPEAT of the savage miss-handling of the Azaria Chamberlain Case. The dingo lady, who noticed the many starving dingoes struggling to survive, gave some poor animals a few pieces of coconut. For this she was convicted and fined $40.000 as well as sentenced to a 9 month jail term suspended for three years and has now a criminal record! She could just not control her distressed feelings for these ailing animals. The “stone-walling” of her defense and the brutality of the prosecution resulted in her inability to work and she lives now on a disability pension while she still has to pay off her fine. You can make up your own mind as to what the government is trying to hide and why they try to silence the Dingo Lady.
Dingoes were brought to this island by the Aborigines where they became dependent on the Aborigines to compensate them for the dingo’s lack of prey species. In recent years some exotic, large animals were introduced to the island which benefited the dingoes. The Forestry workers wormed and fed the dingoes, and before the island was heritage listed, rangers fed them. Fishermen were also allowed to give the dingoes their offal. But now, all these extra food sources have been removed and there is now no real hunting opportunity left for them.
Please ask for food supplements for the dingoes
I would implore people to write to their local MP’s or the federal minister for the environment, and ask that random food drops be introduced to Fraser Island. I would also ask that people request a complete moratorium on all culling of dingoes. While Fraser Island is in Queensland, and seems far away from us down here in Victoria, it is a Heritage Listed Icon of Australia and belongs to us all. One day you might like to take your children there to show them a world-famous dingo. Without action this may soon be impossible.
I was fortunate to be present when on the 25th of August 2012 the dingo Lady, Jennifer Parkhurst, received a national award from the Australian Wildlife Protection Council in recognition of outstanding contributions to the preservation and protection of Australian native Wildlife. What a contrast to the treatment she received from the Queensland government!
Hans Brunner (M. App. Sc.)
Australian Story featured Jennifer Parkhurst's horrible experiences with the law and her attempts to represent dingoes. You can see the program here: or just click on the picture at the top of this article.
Donations to help Jennifer pay her fine can be sent either to SFID or to your local Magistrates court. Payee is ‘State Penalties Enforcement Registry’ and her Party ID is: 62883053. Please be sure to get a receipt, and she asks if you would be so kind as to post her a copy of the receipt for her records, she would be most grateful.
Mail can be sent to Jennifer C/O SFID: 50 Old Maryborough Rd Pialba Qld 4655
The magistrate who convicted and so severely punished Jennifer Parkhurst with a suspended sentence and a $40,000 fine was Magistrate John Smith in a case at Maryborough Magistrates Court. Adam Randall , who was Jennifer's partner at the time and fed the Dingos with her was fined only $2500.
Hans Brunner is one of many scientists and other people who have tried to stand up for the Fraser Island dingoes. Australian Story gives others. Another example is:
Dr. Alan Wilton (1953-2011) Prominent Australian Geneticist, Assoc. Professor of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of NSW. Dr. Wilton devoted much of his academic life in studying the ancestry and significance of the dingo in Australia.
Check out Dr Earnest Healey's Dingo Care Network here: