She was a well-known collared wongari (dingo) in the public spotlight after a series of negative interactions on K’gari, but she, like others, prove that there is a normal life after a collar.
RYellow became known by her ear tag identifier and was initially fitted with the GPS tracking collar in July 2019 to help manage her behaviour and people’s behaviour around her after a series of high-risk interactions. Her tracking data points showed where she was going and spending time around and away from people. This allowed managers to manage people around her by temporarily closing campgrounds or conducting education or compliance at high use visitor areas like Eli Creek.
It was clear to rangers that she was being fed because she had lost her natural wariness of people and would approach camping areas and people for food around Eli Creek or loiter around the residential areas. She is more than capable of surviving and finding her own food, as was shown during COVID lockdown when she disappeared, and the tracking points indicated she went inland for periods of time. Her collar was removed in August 2020.
K’gari wongari generally settle and display less assertive/aggressive behaviour around humans when they become adults after two years. RYellow18F has finished denning, has pupped, and we hope to see her young out and about around the end of September or early October.
Her young are a part of the next generation. It is up to K’gari’s stakeholders, residents, and visitors to ensure her pups don’t have the same human tolerant/habituated youth their mother had.
QPWS and their Butchulla co-managers are committed to supporting wongari conservation and will manage the actions of people and wongari to mitigate the risk of negative interactions. Her transformation from a fed juvenile to a cautious adult shows that tracking and camera collars are important management and conservation tools.
With the December school holidays approaching, the new recruits to the K’gari wongari population emerging, and the constant flow of visitors to the World Heritage Area, this wongari’s history is a timely reminder for people to be dingo-safe on K’gari.
- Always stay close (within arm’s reach) of children and young teenagers
- Always walk in groups
- Camp in fenced areas where possible
- Do not run. Running or jogging can trigger a negative wongari interaction
- Walk with a stick
- Never feed or interfere with wongari’s
- Lock up food stores and iceboxes (even on a boat)
- Never store food or food containers in tents, and
- Secure all rubbish, fish and bait.
Contributed by QPWS Natural Resource & Wongari Management team, K’gari