While locals and tourists regularly report dingo sightings in the area, there is an increase in reports of threatening behaviour and even attacks.
We have developed a Dingo/Wild Dog Management Procedure for Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest with controls based on an escalating scale of exhibited behaviour in individual dingoes/wild dogs, however, Council’s Senior Ecologist, Mat Bell admits the management of these animals is challenging.
For many residents and tourists to the Hawks Nest area, observing dingoes is a positive experience. However, in rare instances, dingoes can pose risks to people - especially children and family pets – and the risks of attacks and negative interactions are significantly escalated when dingoes are hand fed or otherwise encouraged to interact with people, which is happening more and more in the Hawks Nest area.
Our team is currently working on signage to be displayed around the town and in regular dingo areas, but there is also a framework of responsibility for action on Wild Dogs in NSW that needs to be adhered to.
Legally, dingoes are managed as ‘wild dogs’ in the applying legislation, despite the dingoes’ occupancy in Australia for several thousands of years.
It’s also important to note that while we have developed our management plan, the over-arching responsibility for coordination and leadership of wild dog control and management across New South Wales is with Local Land Services.
Managing dingoes needs to be a collaborative effort between us (Council), Local Land Services, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (if in a national park) and the community. The agencies have been working together to develop more uniform dingo management procedures in the local area.
But it’s imperative all residents and landowners, especially caravan park operators, know their responsibilities as well.
We know that once dingoes become comfortable or confident with people, their behaviours can escalate quite quickly, and this begins when people feed them.
So we’re asking locals, visitors and tourist operators to never feed dingoes or allow dingoes access to food, including rubbish. Dingoes should not be encouraged in any way.
Some people see a dingo and think it is under-fed, however dingoes are naturally very lean and they are very capable and effective at finding their own food and naturally range widely across the landscape.
Our Dingo Management Procedure for Hawks Nest is heavily based on a management model from Fraser Island. It recognises that control of dingoes in an urban context is difficult and sometimes very distressing. Council also maintains a register of dingo and wild dog community reports and has been monitoring the behaviours of specific animals, while a new register has been established to ensure all details are captured.
Reports of residents and tourists feeding and encouraging dingoes is very concerning, and the increased reports of threatening behaviour are linked to this.
This ultimately significantly increases the risks of unacceptable dingo behaviour and public risk and thus necessitates control actions.
We're in the process of commissioning and installing new signage to promote awareness of dingo safe practices as well as educating caravan park owners and operators.
The public signs should be installed in prominent public areas by the end of February.
If any members of the community have observed and are concerned with the behaviour of a dingo or have been involved in a threatening encounter, we're urging them to contact one of the above agencies as soon as possible.
It’s imperative that the public is educated and under no circumstances should someone feed or attempt to touch a dingo.
To report your sighting or interaction, use the form below.
Report a Dingo Sighting or Interaction Here
Click here to view form.