Australia’s Fraser Island Dingoes - Victims of Greed   
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

I keep fighting as hard as I can to give these precious animals a voice, because within 10 years we will not see any dingoes left on Fraser Island.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. On today’s program, wildlife photographer and artist Jennifer Parkhurst and animal advocate Jaylene Musgrave will discuss the cruel fate of the dingoes on Fraser Island, Queensland, off the coast of eastern Australia.

The iconic dingo, a beautiful, intelligent and noble wild dog, was once found in every state of Australia except the island of Tasmania. However, as a result of habitat loss, interbreeding with domestic dogs, intentional poisoning, shooting and state culling, their numbers have severely declined. Fraser Island has Australia’s largest population of purebred dingoes, and these remaining 50 to 80 individuals sadly face extinction.

Ms. Parkhurst, also known as the “Dingo Whisperer,” has spent seven years observing, photographing and painting the regal dingoes of Fraser Island. And Ms. Musgrave is the founder of the Vegan Warriors, an organization based in the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland, comprised of rock stars and other celebrity vegans who work diligently to raise awareness about animal cruelty, including the inhumane treatment of the island’s dingoes.

Australia is the only place in the world that you can find dingoes. And we have some of the last purebred dingoes in Australia in Queensland.

The emotional life of dingoes is what makes them so special. They’re a very family-oriented animal. And just the way that they interact with each other, it’s really clear that they do have emotions and that they do care about each other. Also, dingoes are unique as far as wild animals go in that they have a long history of companionship with people. They like companionship with each other. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, how hot it is or anything like that, they always snuggle up close together when they’re having their daily naps.

People from all over the world travel to Fraser Island for its beautiful location and beautiful views and also because of the dingoes.

Ironically, it is the tourist industry which is killing the very dingoes they have come to see. Because dingoes closely resemble domestic dogs, many visitors believe they can treat them just like they treat their companion animals back home, and this creates an unsafe situation for the dingoes.

Well, if you compare the situation we have on Fraser Island to something like Africa, where you have wildlife safaris or wildlife nature reserves where there's wild animals, you don’t walk up to a lion and try and pet it. You don’t walk up to a bear in Canada in the wild and try and feed it an apple or something.

When you go to the island, the rangers are very clear about (what) you’re not to do with the dingoes. And everyone is given these instructions and told to adhere to them, or you could face a fine. (But) so many people don’t, because they think they’re dogs. They’re not dogs. They’re wild animals. And people then feed them or try and pet them. The dingo is probably starving and the dingo may attack that person. And when that happens, the dingo is the one that suffers ultimately.

Whenever any dingo on Fraser Island acts in a manner considered to be dangerous or threatening, he’s either tagged on the ear or murdered. And because of their playful, boisterous natures, dingo puppies become victims of tourism.

The dingo is very misunderstood. They’re a gregarious, boisterous, playful animal. The way that they play with each other, it’s nipping, biting, bowling each other over, playing games of chase and so forth. Most of the animals that are destroyed on Fraser Island are pups, 95% or more. And it’s puppy play behavior that they are exhibiting when they’re running up to people.

Now people have been told that the dingo is running after them to attack them, so they behave the wrong way. And you’re really not supposed to engage them in play. So people just panic and they don’t realize they’re playing anyway. The dingoes might nip or bite somebody, but it’s just like an invitation to play.

In 2008, 1.8 meter-high fences, some electrified, were erected on Fraser Island to keep the dingoes away from townships and areas most frequently visited by tourists. But unfortunately, the fences also separate the animals from their food sources, so many have become emaciated and weak, and the more vulnerable, the puppies and elderly, frequently starve to death.

One morning, I’d got up early again and I was out, following this little fellow around. He was a six months old pup. One of his siblings had already perished. And he was so frail and fragile, his hips were protruding, and he couldn’t walk properly. They get very stiff in the hind legs when they’re that starving. And so I’d been following him. He was eating berries off the grass. And I just thought, “Oh, you poor little thing. You’re going to die any day now.”

Because these helpless and innocent animals are believed to interfere with the lucrative tourist industry, even the few remaining dingoes are treated with savagery. If park rangers consider a dingo to be a hazard, they may pelt him with clay pellets using a slingshot, shoot him with a gun, bait him with poisonous food, or put a tag in his ear.

They’ve given rangers the right to shoot them with guns and to haze them to scare them away. This can result in a dingo being injured, which could lead to them dying. They've baited many, many puppies as well. They’ve just baited them because they thought they might grow up to attack someone. When a dingo picks up the bait and dies, that affects the whole structure of the social unit or the pack.

The young pups actually learn from the older dingoes on how to behave, on their place in that pack. And when that particular animal is taken away, it then affects the rest of the pack. And they can become quite aggressive because they haven’t got the alpha male or the strong female in the pack to teach them the correct way that they need to be in that pack. These animals are very intelligent and they know what they’re doing. And we’re just disturbing the whole way that they are acting naturally.

The tag can cause an ear infection and/or make the ear flop thereby impeding the ability to determine where sounds are coming from. Tagging involves trapping the animal, with the possibility of the dingo’s legs becoming injured or broken.

They’re trapped, so they have the scent of the trap and the trauma of the trapping, they’re DNA tested. They’re tagged. Most of the time they’re given some sort of drug. It paralyzes them. So they’ve got all this human scent all over them, and then they’re returned to the pack without being sanitized. And of course the rest of the pack doesn’t like that because he’s got that horrible smell all about him.

And the incidents that happened over there where people are attacked, the dingoes have now got tags in their ears. And anyone that knows dingoes’ ears, their ears stick right up like that, and they’re very important to a dingo to be able to hear. And with a tag in his ears it means that one of his ears will droop down. So it’s like they’ve got no chance whatsoever. They’ve been cut off from their food sources and then we've put this whopping great big ear tag in their ear, which means that they can’t even hear.

So, the rangers more often than not will shoot the wrong dog when an attack’s been reported. There's an incident that happened a couple weeks ago, and the rangers can’t even confirm that the two dingoes they put down were the dingoes that actually attacked the person on the island.

Dingoes are one of Australia’s national treasures. What can be done to save their precious lives?

I think the best thing to do is to educate people on the nature and the character of the dingo, to let people understand that they’re not coming after them to attack them, that they really just do want company. And what happens is once a dingo settles down and stops all that play behavior, he’s just happy to sit down next to you for a couple of hours or whatever. He just likes company.

I think if there were feeding stations for the dingoes, that would be a better idea. So that the tourists could come and see the dingoes and photograph them without actually interacting too closely with them. I think the feeding stations have been experimented with overseas as well in different wildlife parks, and they've worked quite well.

In Yellowstone National Park (USA) for example they have random food drops when the food supply’s in a bit of crisis. We could implement something like that, a random food drop, so that the dingoes aren’t necessarily looking for food from people.

Here are some final thoughts about the endangered dingoes from Jaylene Musgrave and Jennifer Parkhurst.

I don’t really think that it’s the dingoes that are the problem. I think that human interaction is the problem. Any peak holiday season, the island is just overrun with tourists who think that they can play with the wild animals. And this is, in turn, leading to attacks. I think that the dingoes need to be given back the land that was theirs.

And we need to stop building more resorts on there. We need to stop taking what is rightfully the dingoes’ and let them be able to act as wild animals.

People need to know really that they’re going to see dingoes and it’s not a situation for panic. It’s a wonderful thing. They’re so blessed to be able to see a wild animal like that, just while they’re out and about and having a picnic with their family or just whatever they’re doing. So yes, education, stop the fear campaign Just let people enjoy the dingoes and not be frightened.

Many thanks Jennifer Parkhurst and Jaylene Musgrave for your efforts to raise awareness about the heartless and cruel treatment of the innocent, dignified dingoes. We pray that the population of these remarkable wild dogs will steadily grow in the near future, as humanity learns to live in greater harmony with all beings on Earth.

For more information on today’s guests, please visit the following websites:
Jennifer Parkhurst
Jaylene Musgrave

Thank you for joining us today on Stop Animal Cruelty. Next on Supreme Master Television is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May all people and animals on our planet enjoy lives of freedom and dignity.

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