K'gari dingo attacks: The simple rule tourists keep ignoring

Feeding dingoes is causing them to lose their fear of humans. But there's another rule visitors to the island are ignoring that's leading to attacks.

Warning signs on the pathways to many of K’gari’s beaches couldn’t be clearer — they feature a picture of a snarling dingo under a large heading "DANGER". It’s even written in German and Chinese.

But authorities believe many of the tourists recently bitten have seen the safety messaging, and then chosen to ignore it, taking a stance that the rules don't apply to them.

One rule in particular appears to be regularly ignored: Walk in groups. And that's frustrating rangers at the Queensland tourist destination formerly known as Fraser Island.

A Danger sign at Happy Valley warning about dingoes.
Many tourists visiting K'gari think the rules don't apply to them. Source: DES

Recent dingo 'victims' ignored K'gari signage advice

It is no surprise that the ‘victim’ of the most recent encounter was standing alone on a beach when she was nipped on the thigh by a dingo (known on K’gari as wongari) on Saturday. That’s despite there being signs located all over Happy Valley on the island’s east where the encounter occurred.

The advice on the warning signs is clear:

  • Never feed dingoes

  • Always stay within arm's reach of children

  • Walk in groups

  • Do not run

  • Never store food in tents

  • Secure rubbish.

A close up of the dingo sign.
Walking in groups is a key rule authorities say tourists continue to ignore. Source: DES

The woman was left with small abrasions after the dingo lunged at her, according to a report from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).

As she swung her drink bottle to try and fend off the native animal, four vehicles pulled up and their drivers helped chase it away.

The spate of dingo attacks on humans on K’gari are linked to poor visitor behaviour, which frequently includes people trying to feed or take selfies with them.

Dingoes pay ultimate price for human bad behaviour

A week ago, Humane Society International’s Evan Quatermain told Yahoo "the actions of a few ruin it for the many”.

“The value of the dingo on K’gari is greater than the value of tourism so something has to change," he said. "People need to be held accountable".

While there hasn’t been a fatal dingo attack on K’gari in over 20 years, animals that repeatedly attack humans are sometimes euthanised.

In July, a dingo linked to attacks on a six-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman who was jogging alone was put down.

The dingo was only two years old, and she weighed in at 17kg in April, a clear indication people had been feeding her.

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new weekly newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.

Banner reads 'What on Earth' with 'Subscribe to our new weekly newsletter' and a collage of images of australian natural wildlife.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter.