Remove all ferals from Fraser Island

No place for feral tourists on World Heritage Fraser Island

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Remove all ferals from Fraser Island – rabbits, cats, brumbies, gambusia, cane toads, 4WDs, tourists and tour operators!

It’s time to reverse the tables.  I’d like to see these exploiters racing towards catastrophic collapse instead of the native dingos – and for any trangressions automatically attract a minimum $200,000 fine and/or 6 months in gaol.

Shut down the Fraser Island Ferry Service and Manta Ray Fraser Island Barge service – pay the ferrymen compensation to retire happily.

Shut down Kingfisher Bay Resort – pay the operator out to retire happily, then convert it into a proper National Parks wildlife research station.

Such 20th Century resort tourism is inappropriate for World Heritage Fraser Island

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Fraser Island is a National Park.  It is world heritage listed by crikes, not as a tourism promotion, but for its ecological values. The place is endangered, the pure native dingo is on its last legs and suffering at the hands of humans, so number one priority of a national park is ecological protection.  National Parks Service needs to get its nose out of tourism exploitation and bush arson and back into its job of wildlife ecology management.  But it needs to be managed at national level, because the Queensland DERM cowboys can’t be trusted.

There is no reason why the custody of the entire island should not be returned to the traditional Butchulla and Badtjala peoples to oversee the rehabilitatiin and ecological management.

Indeed, Fraser Island should renamed back to the respective indigenous names: K’gari and Gari.

It is time to get serious about ecology.  Simple solution, just takes community will and leadership, like in the 1970s grassroots campaign to originally protect the island from Joh’s sand mining pillage.

Get the tourists off Fraser Island.  Shut down Base Camp Fraser Island, shut down Eurong Beach Resort, shut down Fraser Island Beach Houses, Fraser Island Fishing Units, Fraser Island Hideaway, Fraser View Apartments, Cathedrals on Fraser camping ground, Fraser Island Waiuta Retreat.  Compulsorily acquire their land holdings and put them on the last tourist ferry off the island.

4WD tourist hoons on Fraser Island in 2009
[Source: ‘Overseas tourists drive up Fraser Island 4WD carnage’,
by Tony Moore and Cameron Atfield, Brisbane Times, 20091215,
^http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/travel/travel-news/overseas-tourists-drive-up-fraser-island-4wd-carnage-20091214-ks6f.html]

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. Pure Dingo
Threatened, harrassed on its native Fraser Island

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Last April 2011, three Fraser Island dingo pups were destroyed (read ‘executed‘) in as many weeks after displaying aggressive behaviour towards humans, according to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).  DERM general manager Terry Harper said three dingoes from the June/July 2010 litters had “posed a clear threat”’ to the safety of visitors and the community.  Fraser Island is the dingos native home.  The tourists are feral intruders and the problem, not the dingos. Harper needs to be sacked.

[Source:  ‘Three more Fraser Island dingoes destroyed after aggressive behaviour toward campers’, by Kristin Shorten, The Courier-Mail, 20110428, ^http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/three-more-fraser-island-dingoes-destroyed-after-aggressive-behaviour-toward-campers/story-e6freoof-1226046070071]

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Say no more!

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Bree Jashin of the Fraser Island Dingo Preservation Group says tourists feeding and teasing dingoes on Fraser Island could lead to the extinction of the native dogs on the island. Ms Jashin provided AAP with a photograph of tourists kicking sand at dingoes and a first-hand account of another incident between tourists and a dingo pup, which she said could elicit a reaction and lead to the dingo’s destruction by rangers.

“The right for humans to play at the expense of the future of the only thoroughbred dingoes left is unacceptable,” Ms Jashin said.  “Fraser Island is the dingoes’ home and humans have to remember they are guests in that home.

Chris Druery was among a group of three visitors in a four-wheel-drive south of Eli Creek on Fraser Island on October 1 last year when they saw an approaching vehicle drive directly towards a dingo pup.

“[The driver] pointed their vehicle directly towards the pup and sped up, attempting to run it down,” Mr Druery said.  “They also swerved violently towards the pup, missing it by only centimetres.  “We watched the pup cower and run towards the surf with its hind legs tucked up under its rear end.”

Mr Druery said those in the offending four-wheel-drive were laughing during their attempts to run the dingo down.  “It is disappointing that such a jewel in the crown can be tarnished by clowns that drive dangerously on the beach,” he said.

Ms Jashin said the three dingoes in photographs she snapped last year were heading towards Eurong township beachfront when they were harassed by backpackers.

“The pups were simply minding their own business when the girls screamed and the young male backpacker began to aggressively yell, run at, and kick sand at the pups,” she said.
Rather than dissuade the dogs, the yelling attracted them towards the group.  “The backpackers all jumped in the vehicle and drove up close to them to take pics,” she said.  She said all three of the pups had been destroyed after exhibiting allegedly aggressive behaviour towards humans.

[Source: ‘Tourists ‘threatening dingo extinction’, by AAP, 20100317, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/tourists-threatening-dingo-extinction-20100317-qe1o.html].
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Uncontrolled tourist interation with Fraser Island’s wild dingoes
Tourists and wildlife don’t mix – when will Parks Management get the message ?
DERM is not a tourist operator.  Fraser Island is a World Heritage National Park for wildlife.

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Fraser Island is a wildlife World Heritage sanctuary, not another Hamilton Island Resort!

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Last September 2011, some bored National Parks officers decided to start a fire on the island.  They excused it as a ‘controlled burn’, but is is arson no less and surprise surprise, it got out of control.  “It was going for five or six days, and the weather changed and it took off in a different direction, unfortunately. “These things are part of life.  In most national parks you need to reduce the fuel load.”

The vandals need to be sacked (including the manager for probably inciting it) banned from Fraser Island and fined for the cost of the emergency response by the 18 fire fighters from Rural Fire Brigade, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and the 4 waterbombing aircraft.

[Source:  ‘A resort on Fraser Island is threatened by a grass fire, which appears to have started with a controlled burn’, by AAP, 20111003, ^http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/a-resort-on-fraser-island-is-threatened-by-a-major-grass-fire/story-e6frg6nf-1226156969941]

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Queensland’s Fraser Island was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992 after nearly twenty years battle and public debate.

Once it was listed, the Queensland Government has maliciously abused the world heritage for tourism and recreation, allowing the precious island to become so degraded that some people are now arguing that it needs to be placed on the World Heritage in Danger List.  (Ed: It should be, right now).

‘It isn’t that Fraser Island lacks the values that warranted its World Heritage listing in the first place.  It is just that the management values for Fraser Island are pre-occupied with recreation Management to the neglect of the protection of its World Heritage values.

Unmonitored 4WDs
A bit of road widening into Fraser Island’s vegetation

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On Fraser Island ‘bevans‘ rule ok!

‘On Fraser Island 4WD recreational vehicles rule all policy decisions even though environmental studies have conclusively shown the impact of the 4WDs in compacting sand in the substrate and thus accelerating water erosion.  The mobilization of sand as a result of this means that over a three year period more than a million tones of sand has been mobilized and sluiced down the slopes.  That means over a tonne of sand it relocated for every visitor to Fraser Island!

‘Some roads are now scoured down to a depth of 4 metres and they continue this on-going down-cutting every time it rains.  As little as 5mm of rain is more than enough to start mobilizing surface sand on roads.  Some of the sand is deposited lower down the slopes; other sand is being sluiced into the iconic perched dune lakes.

Road to McKenzie – the Parks Service must have gone AWOL

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Some of the sand is deposited so that picnic tables begin to get buried and other picnic spots are being scoured out demonstrating the fragility and mobility of any disturbed soil surface on Fraser Island.

‘In 1963 Indian Head had a lawn of thick grass extending right to its summit.  Since then the unprotected surface soil has been disturbed but hundreds of thousands of feet.  This has been eroded and washed away by rain exposing an ever expanding area of bare rock. There are no plans to repair the damage or rectify this problem in the foreseeable future.

Indian Head degradation by excessive uncontrolled tourism.
Where are DERM Parks Management – off lighting grass fires?
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Indian Head vegetation back in 1974

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‘A disproportionate amount of the budget is spent on recreational facilities, visitor safety and management, waste management.  Road widening and upgrading has become an obsession. This focus has led to the neglect of research and the natural resource management, — environmental monitoring of wildlife and ecosystems, fire management, weed control, and quarantine.’

Fraser Island’s native long-necked turtles
vulnerable to 4WD hoons

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‘The preoccupation with recreation management on Fraser Island is encouraging more and more visitors to visit Fraser Island in unsustainable ways.  Recreation is degrading Fraser Island’s World Heritage values including its iconic lakes.  Recreation management is at the expense of managing the island’s natural resources.  These suffer from lack of adequate monitoring.  No monitoring of the water quality in the lakes was done for a decade while road run-off continues to pour into the lakes impacting on water quality.’

Ongoing sand dune damage by unmonitored 4WDs
Tourist access on Fraser Island has become a free-for-all !

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Fraser Island has less than one kilometre of boardwalks.  Queensland government policy prevents any feasibility into developing an environmentally more sustainable light rail people mover there.  Yet compared with Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysia, listed eight years after Fraser Island, with exactly a tenth of the visitor number of Fraser Island puts Fraser Island management to shame.

[Source:  ‘Queensland’s shameful management of the Fraser Island World Heritage site‘, by John Sinclair, 20100702, ^http://randomkaos.com/node/14, (John Sinclair is one of Australia’s leading nature conservationists and has lead the fight to save Fraser Island since 1971 when he founded the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation)]

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In 2007 an Irish backpacker tourist, Evan Kelly, while on Fraser Island thought it was a good idea to run down a sand dune into Lake Wabby.  He did this several times then landed head first in the lake, hurt his back then sued the Queensland Government and the backpacker hostel, Pippies Beach House, for failing to warn him of the dangers.

Previously in 2006, tourist Su Chul Jang from South Korea, decided to run down a sand dune and dive into Lake Wabby, but became a quadriplegic and sued the tour company Fraser Escape 4×4 Tours Pty Ltd and the  Queensland Government.

Leave Lake Wabby alone!

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[Source:  Fraser Island backpacker sues Queensland Government, tourism operators for injuries at Lake Wabby’ by Kay Dibben, The Sunday Mail (Qld), 20100829, ^http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/fraser-island-backpacker-sues-queensland-government-tourism-operators-for-injuries-at-lake-wabby/story-e6freoof-1225911278600]

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What’s the full cost of Fraser Island tourism?

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The Queensland Government’s World Heritage management of Fraser Island has been called into question internationally over claimed incompetence and malice.

Opposition Shadow Sustainability Minister Glen Elmes said he had “taken steps to ensure that UNESCO, the organisation charged with overseeing World Heritage listed areas, has been advised of the island’s plight”.   He described island management as “incompetent at best” and a betrayal of state government conservation obligations.

Mr Elmes accused her Department of Environment and Resource Management of a major cover-up of mismanagement, environmental damage and “ruthless and cruel” policies on dingo management.  Mr Elmes told Parliament this week that he had read the report, estimating the death of 97 dingoes from causes listed in autopsy reports as “lethal injection, shot, run over, poisoned, starvation and others”.

“One autopsy lists under possible cause of death, ‘rifle-itis,’ while another states ‘half an ounce of hot lead,” he said.  “Labor’s interim report shows happy snaps of a dingo family, dingoes on the beach, dingoes frolicking in the water, a dingo running up the beach with a fish in its mouth.   “On a normal day, those dingoes would be hazed by rangers – that is shot with a clay pellet, moving them away from the beach and away from their main food source,” he said.

[Source:  Claims of Fraser Island ‘cover-up’ by Arthur Gorrie, 20100902, ^http://www.gympietimes.com.au/story/2010/09/02/Fraser-Island-cover-up-claimed/]


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Meanwhile the Queensland Labor Government’s only interest for Fraser Island  is more tourism development.

In September 2010,  Federal Labor Environment Minister Tony Burke and Queensland’s Bligh Labor Government’s  Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones opened a joint $3.4 million tourist facilities at Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island.

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“This is great for tourism on the island and great news for the Hervey Bay economy.”

~ Kate Jones’ 20th Century mindset for world heritage.

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Labelling it “eco-friendly”, the modern facilities include:

  • More vehicle access routes
  • A bigger car park
  • Wider pedestrian access to the beach
  • More toilets
  • More viewing platforms
  • Improved signage
  • Oh and extensive site revegetation. Nice.

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[Source:  ‘Ministers officially open major upgrade to facilities at Lake McKenzie’ (Labor joint media release), 20100923, ^http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/burke/2010/mr20100923.html]

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Fraser Island’s 75 Mile Beach
…clear of ferals of all types

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It is time to place Fraser Island on the World Heritage in Danger List, get all the ferals including the tourists and their profiteers off the island and to commence the job and investment of serious World Heritage management of one of the planet’s remaining important nature assets.

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Tigerquoll
Suggan Buggan
Snowy River Region
Victoria 3885
Australia

Lake Boomanjin on Fraser Island,
Supposedly protected
(Photo by Steven Nowakowski, click photo to enlarge)

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Further Reading:

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[1]   ‘Queensland’s shameful management of the Fraser Island World Heritage site‘, by John Sinclair, 20100702, ^http://randomkaos.com/node/14, (John Sinclair is one of Australia’s leading nature conservationists, has lead the fight to save Fraser Island since 1971 when he founded the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation).

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[2]  ‘Fighting Ferals on Fraser Island‘, by Fraser Island Defenders Organization  (FIDO) “The Watchdog of Fraser Island”, aims to ensure the wisest use of Fraser Island’s natural resources, ^http://www.fido.org.au/education/FightingFerals.html

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7 Responses to “Remove all ferals from Fraser Island”

  1. Cameron Jung says:

    What a frighteningly one sided argument you have here. Conservation of natural heritage is important for our future and should be taken seriously, however simply locking people out of national parks and shutting down tourism is not a practical solution. National parks are designated to protect vulnerable habitats from destruction so that future generations may continue to enjoy them just as much as they are designated to protect biodiversity. Correct management of the Island and the revenue it generates is key to preserving it, and as an avid outdoor and wildlife photography enthusiast (AND responsible 4×4 owner I might add) I take exception to your assertion that every visitor to Fraser Island is an irresponsible environmental wrecking ball (“bevan” as you so eloquently described) there to wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Come Christmas time I fully intend to be there (WITH my 4×4) enjoying a beautiful example of what Australia has to offer.

  2. Editor says:

    Mr Jung,

    What a frighteningly future for Fraser Island Dingoes!
    Extinction compared with tourism is no different to child slave tourism.

    Locking people out of World Heritage is what world heritage is all about – denying ecological exploitation and destruction.
    Future generations of Dingoes on FraserIalsnd have more legitimate rights than human tourists.

    Responsible 4×4 (4WD) owners is decidedly oxymoronic. These all come with stubby holders and ice makers now.
    The best news for Fraser Island will be another tourist death, however caused.

    Generations of Dingoes deserve to safely enjoy their habitat just as much as their biodiversity deserves protection as a Natural World Heritage Area.
    Correct management of Fraser Island demands denial of selfish drunken bevan tourists inflicting wrecking ball exploitive havoc upon the ecosystem.
    Given me a gun!

    Bevan tourists deserve to be dancing on the high rises Gold Coast schoolies towers.
    No one has a right to abuse Australian ecology.

  3. Diana T says:

    Fantastic blog great pictures I hope you submit them to Ecosure for the enquiry. Not everyone involved believe things are just fine as they are. Hard evidence is desperatly needed for change. Any concrete evidence of the decline in numbers is urgently needed- especially as DERM is supplying a figure of 200 healthy dingoes!!!
    There is something you need to get right though. The Fraser Island Dingo is a lazy hunter. The Buchulla people have always shared scraps, guts etc with the Dingo. When white people first came to the island they did the same. There are people today who remember men fishing from the beach then gutting fish and throwing the innards to patiently waiting dingoes. There were no attacks – no one felt threatened. I have seen a photograph of s sign put up on the beach that urged people to throw food scraps into the bush “for the dingoes to clean up” That was because rubbish collections for the few who lived there was infrequent. What about a BIG$$$$ permit to visit and a bigger $$$$$ fine if caught approaching a dingo? Like you are not allowed to approach a whale. How about taking the guns off Rangers and have them provide some supplementary feed in a remote part of the island? (I bet the dingoes would hang around there) How about a small committee of management 2 indigenous and 2 Environment Department people? How about $$ ranger led tours to see the dingoes feeding and acting naturally? How about no permission for tourist to enter large parts of the island? Compulsory education – films to watch – understanding rules and penalties? How about on the spot fines for hooning, speeding etc and enforced lower speed limits? These sort of suggestions have a hope of happening. Closing the resort etc won’t! As for ferals the dingoes used to eat the Brumby afterbirth and clean up the carcass of a dead horse- The Dingo was never pure clean and green- attempts to force this has led to dogs and young puppies starving a slow horrible deatn. Please use your fantastic pictures to put a practical submission into Ecosure. There are estimates of 40-50 dingoes left. Did I say take the guns off the rangers? Won’t hurt to say it twice. PLEASE your great pictures can really help. Can you get some video on a phone. a shot of a Dingo walking through the stupid ugly fence would be good. Send a copy of ANY evidence that goes to Ecosure to the University of Queensland Enviroment Department and say on the submission copy sent to… Keep up the fantastic work. From the blog and photos you could save the FI Dingo. Better to ask for some changes that are enough to prevent extinction than be written off as a fanatic and achieve no outcome at all!
    Diana

  4. Barbara Pelczynska says:

    I agree with the article that in order to rehabilitate Fraser Island’s ecology, all ferals, including exotic plants should be removed and the Island returned to Butchulla people to oversee the ecological rehabilitation and management of the Island and its name changed to K’gari. After all, the Butchulla people lived and looked after the Island for thousands of years.

    I think that it is not the revenue that tourism generates that will save the Island from destruction as suggested by Cameron Jung, but rehabilitation. It is obvious that the present number of tourists and the culling of dingoes are unsustainable and erosion and dwindling numbers of dingoes is the evidence for that. It is also obvious that present management is not working, but as Diana T points out, it will be difficult to change because the tourism industry is very profitable and economy is the most important in the government’s decision making.

    But some of her practical suggestions, if implemented, according to me, will only put the Island into palliative care and prolong its inevitable destruction. So I do not mind being called fanatic as the ecologically based solutions are the only effective ones in the long term.

  5. Amanda Scott says:

    I visited Fraser Island for my Honeymoon in 2000, and I was disgusted by the amount of cigarette butts that were lying around in the sand at lake Mackenzie! Shouldn’t be any cigarettes allowed to be brought on to the Island. If people don’t like that, don’t go there.

  6. Grant Rogers says:

    I think your concern for Fraser Island is great, however your solutions are, uneducated and on the verge of being a “lazy fix”. To say that some individuals are entitled to have access to the island based on thier heritage is almost racist, the planet we live on does not belong to anyone and nobody should be entitled to any particular part of it more than any other human being. I have been going to Fraser Island since 1973 and I can honestly say the most damage I have seen done to the island has been caused by QNPWS by masking access easier for the uneducated.

  7. Hanne johanneson says:

    It makes mé so sad to Read about how People behave ón fraser Island. Close the Island for tourist before it is too late!

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