Please stop feeding the dingoes
Published on 20 July 2021
MidCoast Council is renewing its plea for members of the Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest communities, as well as visitors to the area, to refrain from feeding/interacting with dingoes.
This comes from an increasing number of reports to Council about locals and tourists feeding the animals.
“It’s really disappointing that we find ourselves back in this situation, such a short time after serious action had to be taken as a result of these types of interactions,” said Mat Bell, Council’s Senior Ecologist.
“We believe education is key and we would hate to see the need for control measures to be taken again.
“While these people may think they’re helping the dingoes, they’re actually doing them a great disservice.”
Council follows an adopted dingo management procedure that is a risk management model based on the successful program in place on Fraser Island.
Earlier this year, together with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services and Hunter Local Land Services, lethal control had to be taken to manage the escalating risks to community safety from a pack of sub-adult dingoes that had been involved in a spate of incidents with people and domestic pets. These dingoes were being given access to human food in and around urban Hawks Nest.
Mat explained that when dingoes are fed by humans they can lose their inherent shyness and fear of people and the territory that they occur in becomes worth aggressively defending. Sometimes within days, these animals can become highly territorial and exhibit increased aggression to domestic pets and people.
"It's imperative that the community gets behind this important message and please, do not approach, encourage or feed the dingoes.
"We cannot have this continue, ultimately it's the dingoes that suffer," Mat added.
Council has an online reporting form for members of the public to share information about interactions and incidents with dingoes, while Rangers have commenced issuing penalties to anyone caught ignoring Dingo Smart advice.
“Our Rangers will be following up on reports of residents and visitors feeding dingoes. The compliance also focusses on other actions that unreasonably permit dingo access to human food sources, such as where bins haven’t been secured properly and food scraps are easily accessible,” said Mat.
"We're continuing to work closely with experts from Taronga Zoo and the University of NSW to increase understanding of the dingoes in our region but we'll need the community to be advocates and lead by example to stop other community members and tourists from feeding and approaching dingoes too.”
“Interestingly, a common excuse we hear from people who have been caught feeding the dingoes is that they did it because the dingo looked skinny and malnourished,” added Mat.
“Dingoes are naturally very lean animals and they’re also expert hunters, they’re not meant to look like a domestic pet and they are highly capable of looking after themselves.”
Council has begun installing more warning signs around the area and a staged compliance approach is underway which incorporates education, warnings and then enforcement.
For further information on the dingo management procedure visit Council's website www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/dingomanagement.