The Dingoes (Wongari) of K'gari (Fraser Island)

Wongari — wild dingo Living well and wild on Fraser Island Seeing dingoes on Fraser Island is special because you can see them in their natural state. You may even see a pack going about their everyday lives. Living wild means all of the island’s wildlife populations can regulate themselves based on the availability of food, water and territory—a principle underpinning wildlife management here and throughout the world. The island provides a varied dingo diet, including fish, crabs, reptiles, echidnas, bush rats, swamp wallabies and bandicoots. They eat insects and berries, and feed on dead marine life or sea birds that have washed up on the beach. Wongari Dreaming Artist: Conway Burns Before European settlers came to K’gari (Fraser Island), two types of dingoes were known to the Butchulla. One was Wat’dha (the camp dingo) and the other was Wongari (the wild dingo). Wat’dha were our companions—always part of us. They helped us hunt and track, and protected us from bad spirits and the Wongari. Wongari have been and always should be wild. They are a natural and important part of the ecosystems on K’gari. Wongari are omnivores; they have an abundance of food here including rodents, reptiles, berries and other flora, and the remains of marine animals washed up on the beach. Butchulla Rangers perform smoking ceremonies for Wongari that die by fault of humans, including vehicle strikes. This sends them home to Sky Country where Biral (Supreme White Spirit) is waiting with a message through the smoke, to ensure their spirit doesn’t walk in limbo without an understanding of what happened to them. If they have been killed by another dingo or pack we do not interfere. When the last of our people were taken off the island, all of the dingoes became wild, but we, the Butchulla, are still all strongly connected in our hearts, minds and spirits. Respect Butchulla lore “What’s good for the country comes first” . K’gari is Wongari Djaa (Country), and provides everything they need. They are curious, but need you to keep your distance. So please, don’t feed Wongari. Nyanga Buranga (look, listen-know). Conway Burns, Butchulla man and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger A dingo pup greets the alpha female when she returns from hunting. Photo: © Jenna Tapply 2

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