K'gari (Fraser Island), Great Sandy National Park Fraser Coast

Fraser Island (K'gari) is the traditional land of the Butchulla Aboriginal people and a world heritage area. Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

Critical information for your safety

Critical information for your safety is included in the conditions report—always check it before you visit. Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

Be inspired: Explore the Sunshine and Fraser coasts—your go-to weekend escapes!

They’re renowned for surf and sun-drenched beaches, and deservedly-so, but take a closer look and you’ll find the Sunshine and Fraser coasts have so much more in store! Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government

Be inspired: It’s official—Queensland National Parks have the best beaches!

It’s official—Queensland National Parks have the best beaches! How do we know? There’s a list going around of Australia’s Top 101 beaches to visit. Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

Be inspired: Queensland National Parks’ best-loved camping areas

We are truly a nation of coast dwellers, so when it comes to camping holidays, where do we head? To the water, of course! Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

About Fraser Island dingoes

    Conservation of the Fraser Island dingo is of national significance.

    Conservation of the Fraser Island dingo is of national significance.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    A protected species

    The survival of the Fraser Island dingoes relies on three management factors—education, engineering and enforcement. Fraser Island dingoes are part of the island ecology, and are protected by law. The Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy for Fraser Island (2013) (PDF, 7.3MB) uses dingo-deterrent fencing, enforcement (fines) and education campaigns to protect people and to help the dingoes retain a natural way of life.

    Also see: Fraser Island dingo publications list for more references

    The 2012 Ecosure review of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy is also available.

    Location

    Fraser Island World Heritage Area—part of the Great Sandy National Park—lies north of Brisbane (Australia), off Queensland’s Fraser Coast, near the cities of Maryborough and Hervey Bay, and the coastal town of Rainbow Beach.

    Conservation

    The dingo Canis lupus dingo is protected in Queensland national parks as a native species. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has a legal responsibility to conserve these populations on national parks and protected areas, even though the dingo is a declared pest outside of these areas.

    Wildlife authorities recognise that Fraser Island dingoes may become the purest strain of dingo on the eastern Australian seaboard and perhaps Australia-wide (Woodall et al 1996 as quoted in Fraser Island dingo management strategy – review, December 2006, library document list) as they have not crossbred with domestic or feral dogs to the same extent as most mainland populations. Therefore, their conservation is of national significance.

    Colour markings are unique to each dingo.

    Colour markings are unique to each dingo.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    Appearance

    On Fraser Island, dingoes are normally a golden sandy colour. They are often born with black markings particularly on the back and tail and lose the black hair as they get older. Juveniles may retain black on their backs and sometimes on their tails. Most have white markings on their chests, tail tips and feet—described as socks. Some have black muzzles and all have pricked ears and bushy tails. Tail tips, socks and any fighting scars are unique to each individual dingo and these help in individual dingo identification.

    Fraser Island dingoes have a higher average mass than mainland dingoes.

    Fraser Island dingoes have a higher average mass than mainland dingoes.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    Body weight

    Adult dingoes on Fraser Island stand more than 60cm high, about 1.2m long and have an average weight of around 18kg. This is a higher average mass than dingoes from Kakadu (16kg), the Victorian Highlands (15kg) and Central Australia (13kg) (Corbett, L 1995, The Dingo in Australia and Asia, UNSW Press, Sydney). The dingoes from these three areas were also about 1.2m long, indicating that Fraser Island’s dingoes are about the same size as dingoes from other areas and, if anything, a bit heavier. They certainly are not leaner than dingoes from other areas.

    Breeding cycles

    Most female dingoes become sexually mature at two years of age but some may produce pups in their first year. Unlike the domestic dog, the dingo breeds only once a year. Gestation takes about 63 days and litters of 1–10 pups (normally 4–6) are born and cared for (whelped) during the winter months. Dens are hidden in areas, such as a hollow log or in a hole dug under the roots of a tree. Pups usually become independent at 3–4 months, or if in a pack, when the next breeding season begins.

    Howling

    Dingoes produce several types of vocalisations. They howl to announce their location and find out where other dingoes are in the landscape, mostly at night to keep the pack together and to warn others to stay away. Packs often howl in a chorus, which may be more intimidating to other packs. Strangely, Fraser Island dingoes often howl at the sound of aeroplanes landing or taking off. Dingoes also produce bark-howls, which are agitated calls made when the animals are alarmed. Other dingo sounds are moans and snuffs. Wild dingoes have not been recorded to bark, but captive dingoes sometimes learn to bark from nearby domestic dogs.

    Watch out—dingoes can bite. A dingo is a wild animal and can be unpredictable and dangerous.

    Increased fines for disturbing, feeding dingoes

    It is illegal to disturb or feed wongari (dingo), which includes attracting them with food or food waste. On K’gari (Fraser Island) an increased maximum fine of $11,028 and an on-the-spot fine of $2,205 now apply to those people who break the law. Be dingo-safe.