Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Human–dingo interactions on Fraser Island: an analysis of serious incident reports

Rob Appleby A C , Jess Mackie A , Bradley Smith B , Lilia Bernede A and Darryl Jones A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.

B Appleton Institute, School of Human Health and Social Sciences, Central Queensland University, 44 Greenhill Road, Wayville, SA 5034, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: rob.appleby@wildspy.com.au

Australian Mammalogy - https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16026
Submitted: 27 May 2016  Accepted: 31 May 2017   Published online: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Wild predators that attack people represent a significant challenge to the management authorities charged with conserving populations whilst minimising human safety risk. Fraser Island is home to an iconic population of dingoes (Canis dingo). However, conflict stemming from negative human–dingo interactions (incidents), some resulting in serious human injury and in one case, a fatality, is an ongoing concern. In an effort to highlight important factors influencing incident dynamics, we investigated the most serious incident reports gathered by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service for the period 2001–15. We found a consistent pattern of incidents peaking in March/April and also July, corresponding with dingo breeding and whelping seasons (respectively). Monthly vehicle permit numbers (a proxy for visitation) were not positively correlated with incident rates, except during the breeding season. Male dingoes, particularly subadult males, featured heavily in incidents. Despite the fatality being highly publicised and the advent of copious on-site warning messages and other management interventions, serious incidents continue to occur annually, including some involving children. This suggests that risks are either not always understood, or are otherwise being ignored. While our results demonstrate that dingoes generally pose minimal risk to humans, some risk remains, particularly where poorly supervised children are concerned.

Additional keyword: human–wildlife interaction.


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