One of the well renowned dingoes of Fraser Island. Photo Lauren Bath/Tourism and Events Queensland
One of the well renowned dingoes of Fraser Island. Photo Lauren Bath/Tourism and Events Queensland LAUREN BATH

OPINION: Respect for dingoes is the only answer

I WAS glued to the TV on Sunday night when the parents of the toddler dragged off by dingoes on Fraser Island (K'gari) spoke out for the first time.

I grew up camping on the island - bouncing around the sand tracks in the back of a crammed Landrover (held in with three siblings by a home-made metal bar seatbelt), climbing barefoot over the wrecked Maheno and hitching a ride into shore on my dad's back when a shark made an appearance while swimming on the eastern side.

I also narrowly survived a dingo attack as a four-year-old when one lunged for me. A parent was near enough to scare it away.

It was not uncommon for our camping photos to have dingoes and brumbies in them.

Hunter with his father, Luke Allister
Hunter with his father, Luke Allister Channel 9

Although we took our rubbish with us and kept our food locked in our tent, our actions were all part of the problem as much as any other tourist family in the early 1980s.

Thousands of complacent and untouchable visitors between then and now have contributed to a relationship between humans and dingoes on the island.

It is one that is continuously under scrutiny. Should the emphasis be on tourism or dingo preservation?

If human actions kill off the island's alpha predator, the island's ecosystem will fail.

There will be no tourist attraction.

Respect for dingoes will be the only thing that saves them from us.