8 July 2015
University of the Sunshine Coast academics have won two out of four Queensland Government grants to research dingoes on K’gari (Fraser Island) and are involved in a third grant project won by the University of Queensland.
Environment and National Parks Minister Dr Steven Miles announced almost $60,000 in funding through the department’s Fraser Island Dingo Strategic Research Program.
"I am confident that the four projects selected will lead to real results in terms of improving the management of dingoes on K'gari (Fraser Island)," Dr Miles said.
A team led by USC’s Dr Clare Archer-Lean, who researches in critical human and animal studies as well as Indigenous and Australian literature, won the biggest single grant of $24,500 to evaluate the interaction between people and dingoes.
"Our focus is on improving the communication of ‘dingo safety’ messages through understanding existing points of contact and values around the dingo," she said.
"We will be surveying and interviewing residents, visitors, traditional owners, tour operators and key stakeholder groups, and using geo-spatial mapping to analyse human-dingo incidents and interactions."
Dr Gabriel Conroy, an Ecological Genetics and Modelling expert with USC’s Genecology Research Centre, won $15,000 to provide an estimate of the current Fraser Island dingo population.
"We are running a pilot project which will use volunteer input to collect dingo scats for genetic analysis," he said. "This will be used to estimate the number of dingoes currently on Fraser Island and allow us to establish a framework to monitor trends in dingo population size."
USC Associate Professor Jennifer Carter, a geographer, will be among researchers collaborating on a $16,000 University of Queensland project to find non-invasive ways of monitoring dingo diet and health.
She said the project would examine how to assess the risk of dingo attacks and how to minimise conflict between dingoes and humans.
Former USC academic Dr Angela Wardell-Johnson’s work and expertise with Fraser Island networks contributed to the University’s grant success.
The four funded projects also involve researchers from Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University.
— Julie Schomberg