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Protecting and Restoring K’gari’s Pandanus

In record time, the introduced insect responsible for Pandanus dieback, Jamella australiae, spread across the eastern shores of Fraser Island, leaving a wake of destruction.

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Panel Session: K’gari (Fraser Island) Community, Culture and Collaboration Conference 2019

The final session at the 8th Biennial K’gari (Fraser Island) Conference was a Q&A forum.

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Community, Culture, Collaboration and Conversations

Reporting on the 8th Biennial K’gari (Fraser Island) Conference

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Utilisation of stranded marine fauna washed ashore on K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia, by dingoes

For those of you interested in keeping up with current research, this paper was recently published in the Australian Journal of Zoology by Linda Behrendorff, Luke K.-P. Leung and Benjamin L. Allen. (more…)

The Tale of a Drunk Dingo!

We know that dingoes eat figs to supplement their diet. But what happens when they have a belly-full of fermenting fruit?  Can they over-imbibe and become inebriated like the parrots?  It seems they can. They might stagger around a bit, but at least they don’t fall out of trees! (more…)

Dingoes – A highly evolved predator

There is no question that the dingo is a very capable predator.  Predators often exhibit highly intelligent and adaptable behaviour and hunting techniques to catch, subdue or kill prey. (more…)

Seasonal Migration… and those that stay

It’s that time again! The humpback whale annual migration is heading south and the marine turtle courting and breeding season begins – ­where adult courting males and nesting females return to their birthplace from areas hundreds of kilometres abroad.

While these migratory breeding cycles increase whale and turtle populations, sadly, some individuals remain and become part of the island’s food-web providing extra sustenance for terrestrial scavengers including the island’s apex predators. (more…)

Irresponsible Pet Owners Impact K’gari Wildlife

A recent rise in reports and images of domestic dogs on K’gari has prompted Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service along with concerned stakeholders to release media requests asking all visitors to leave their dogs at home when they visit World Heritage listed Fraser Island (K’gari).

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Tracking collars fitted to ‘high-risk’ Fraser Island dingoes in an effort to monitor their movements

dingo collarThe Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has commenced a trial to track dingoes (that have shown aggressive behaviour) through the use of tracking and high visibility collars.

It is anticipated that the information derived from the tracking collars will provide a better understanding of specific dingoes’ movements, which will better inform which risk intervention measures are most suitable for specific circumstances.

The collars are a lightweight design for wildlife management and do not impede the dingo in any way. They can be released automatically from the animal at any time and can also be programmed to release after a selected period of time. Both the tracking and high-visibility collars will also allow people to more easily recognise high-risk animals.

Movement patterns of a dingo fitted with a satellite tracking collar over a four-day period.

Movement patterns of a dingo fitted with a satellite tracking collar over a four-day period.

Managing dingo conservation and visitor safety on the island includes a range of intervention techniques, with the use of tracking and high-visibility collars enhancing the current program. Their introduction is anticipated to reduce risk to human safety and boost dingo welfare by assisting in preventing the animals’ behaviour escalating to the point that humane destruction is a necessary management option.

Submitted by QPWS

AJEM Special Issue, ‘Future of an icon’, now available!

In our last FINIA newsletter, we introduced a new paper on Fraser Island, published by the Australian Journal of Environmental Management (AJEM). This paper was one of eight comprising a then-forthcoming special issue: Future of an Icon: K’gari-Fraser Island, climate change and social expectations. This special issue is now out!

In addition to covering diverse topics—dingo conservation, the dingo as an icon, the impact of tourism representation on opportunities for the Butchulla people, the impact of camping on water quality, the implications of past environmental change for the future of K’gari-Fraser Island, spatial databases for research and management, cultural philosophy, and the kind of icon that K’gari-Fraser should be—this special issue has been recognised for its valuable scholarly contribution, with three papers having been long-listed, and one proceeding to the short-list, for AJEM’s annual best paper award.

The rationale for this special issue lies in the pressure K’gari-Fraser Island is under in a changing global environment. The unique hydrologic and vegetation environments of K’gari-Fraser Island were driven by succession, fire and climatic change during the accumulated evolution of a series of 100-thousand-year cycles. The future of K’gari-Fraser Island is subject to significant changes in the way it is valued as a result of World Heritage listing, and increasingly as a tourism resource rather than a conservation asset. These global social and environmental changes have implications for how planning for policy and management must emerge.

International obligations under the World Heritage Convention can only be met if the island is protected from destructive influences. Current state-based resourcing and policy meets state government policy priorities. However, it is federal obligations for Australia’s responsibilities under the global Convention that will protect the World Heritage values. Changes in the legal basis for management are needed to reflect the importance of World Heritage listing.

Recommendations for protecting the diverse World Heritage values for K’gari-Fraser Island in this special issue include:

  • systematic changes in Australia’s legislative system to improve potential to meet Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention;
  • review of World Heritage listing to include values based on cultural multiplicity and diversity of Butchulla people, with improved mechanisms for economic benefit beyond involvement in management;
  • cultural recognition of intrinsic value of nature to engender context-sensitive behaviours and visitor awareness through dedicated visitor centres with coherent interpretative material that clearly differentiate the World Heritage values of K’gari-Fraser Island; and
  • clear articulation of the values and purposes of World Heritage listing for management and monitoring to reduce the impact of people by applying robust and defensible measurements of the extent, severity and duration of environmental harm caused to species, ecosystems and physical values by human activities.

Further details of this special issue, including Abstracts for each article and a number of free download options, can be found at https://finia.org.au/2015/08/03/future-of-an-icon-kgari-fraser-island-climate-change-and-social-expectations/

Angela Wardell-Johnson, Curtin University