An increase in aggressive dingo behaviour in the lead-up to the Easter long weekend has prompted warnings to Fraser Island campers to take proper precautions.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service regional manager Ross Belcher said the Easter holiday coincided with the mating season, a time when dingoes are testing dominance, protecting territories and expelling intruders from other packs.
Mr Belcher said the last few weeks had seen incidents of aggressive from dingoes and visitors were urged to take particular caution this Easter holidays.
“Adults compete to mate and will fight to protect their territory and some dingoes will also try to dominate humans by snarling, nipping or biting," he said.
QPWS figures show since 2002, when the current recording system was introduced, there have been 103 dangerous attacks by dingoes on the island.
Mr Belcher said visitors needed to follow QPWS recommendations and families with children should camp in fenced camp grounds at Central Station, Dundubara, Lake Boomanjin, Dilli Village and Waddy Point.
"Dingoes are not like domestic dogs. Despite their similarity to family pets, these are wild, unpredictable animals and people who ignore QPWS warnings do so at their own peril,” he said.
“Adults should stay close to children including young teenagers, walk in groups, never feed dingoes, lock up food stores and iceboxes, pack away food scraps and store fishing bait correctly.
“Children should be supervised at all times and never be allowed to walk alone."
Mr Belcher said it was illegal to feed dingoes and leaving food exposed was an offence that attracted on-the-spot fines of $300, or court penalties of up to $4000.
“If dingoes are fed by visitors, they can lose their natural fear of humans and expect food from everyone visiting camps, picnic areas, resorts and residences,” he said.
“Feeding dingoes not only endangers people but can lead to the death of the animal.
“In line with Fraser Island's dingo management strategy, any dingo that is deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to people will be humanely destroyed.”
Mr Belcher said rangers would be visiting campsites regularly over Easter and would provide dingo safety messages.
In addition to usual QPWS patrols and dingo activity monitoring, an extra safety reminder via SMS had been sent to campers visiting Fraser Island.
Mr Belcher said visitors to the island should pick up a copy of the free brochure The Dingoes of Fraser Island from the QPSW offices at Maryborough and the Rainbow Beach or Tewantin information centres and read it before arriving.
Information about Fraser Island dingo behaviour and safety is also available online.