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Wongari Rescued from Crab Pot

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Rangers on K’gari (Fraser Island) are accustomed to hearing the wongari (dingo) howl, so when they heard the recent cries from a juvenile, they knew it was in trouble.

Ranger in Charge Dr Linda Behrendorff said a ranger from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service followed the howls and waded across Wanggoolba Creek and was stunned by what he found.

“A juvenile wongari was stuck inside a crab pot in the mangroves with a large mud crab, and both were distressed,” Dr Behrendorff said.

Against the rising tide, the ranger opened the crab pot and released the wongari. The dingo hurried off to rejoin his pack and was extremely lucky to have been rescued instead of drowning when the tide came in. It is unknown whether the crab pot belonged to a recreational or commercial fisher. In the past, rangers on K’gari have dealt with turtles and dingoes that have drowned in crab pots, and fishers on the island and across Queensland are reminded to follow the rules.

“Fishers should ensure that their crab pots are always submerged. Crab pots left unattended or exposed pose a danger to marine life and wildlife on K’gari. “No one is trying to do the wrong thing. However, we want to educate people that animals tangled in crab pots usually drown.”

All fishing gear left unattended for long periods or discarded in the ocean or beach poses a threat to marine and land animals.

These four tips could help fishers prevent the deaths of marine and land animals:

  • Only use traps that weigh 3kg or more so it drops to the sea floor.
  • Use a weighted or non-buoyant line so it drops under the surface
  • Add a vertical line to traps with wide openings
  • Check your traps regularly, and don’t forget about them.

Article contributed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Partnerships

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