The Butchulla people are the Traditional Owners of K’gari (Fraser Island).
Archaeological evidence suggests Aboriginal people have lived on K’gari for at least 5000 perhaps up to 50,000 years. The Butchulla lived in harmony with their environment maintaining a balance between spiritual, social and family connections. The dingo, known as “wongari” in the native language, was an intrinsic part of camp life, they held a significant place in their spiritual and cultural practices. After European occupation in the 1840’s this relationship was interrupted and eventually the Butchulla were removed from the Island. The last mission was closed in 1904.
Following many years of fighting to gain recognition, Friday 24 October 2014 marked the successful resolution of the Butchulla People’s claim for native title over K’gari. The Determination recognised the ongoing traditional laws and customs of the Butchulla People, specifying native title rights and interests over about 1,640 square kilometres.
Since then the Butchulla have been returning to country. They have established a working relationship with QPWS. (Qld Parks and Wildlife Service.) and are endeavouring to share their knowledge of a once widespread way of life, but the government still holds authority when it involves dingo management.
Historically, the dingo is thought to have arrived in Australia approximately 5,000 years before present (BP). More recent molecular dating efforts based on mitochondrial divergence time suggest that dingoes could have arrived approximately 8,000–10,000 years BP (Cairns & Wilton, 2016)
The dingo (Canis dingo) is protected in Queensland national parks as a native species. Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 it is a declared indigenous species and classed as native wildlife. Sections 17 and 62 of the Act also provide for the legal protection of the dingo as a natural resource in protected areas such as World Heritage listed Fraser Island.
The Fraser Island Dingo Conservation and Management Strategy (2013) forms the basis for management of the Island dingoes and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have a legal responsibility to protect and conserve the population.
The Fraser Island (Great Sandy Region) was inscribed as a natural World Heritage Site in 1992, this resulted in an over whelming increase in both domestic and International visitors. The Island dingoes have come under ever increasing pressure due to ever expanding tourism.
- The mortality rate from vehicle strikes continues to rise.
- Visitors interfering and attempting to interact with dingoes can lead to human /dingo conflict. Whilst encounters with dingoes can be positive, those deemed to be negative and of a serious nature can result in animals being euthanased.
- Lethal control of dingoes considered aggressive can lead to social disruption of the pack and exacerbate the potential for dingo/human conflict.
- Another critical conservation concern is genetic health. This is particularly relevant on K’gari where the population is small and isolated from the mainland. A species’ ability to maintain genetic diversity is crucial in ensuring its long-term survival. It is possible the lack of genetic diversity in the K’gari population could heighten the risk of extinction.
- Other key threats requiring ongoing attention include, inappropriate fire, invasive plants and animals, and climate change. Download FACT SHEET. DOWNLOAD MEMBERSHIP FORM