Five dingoes have been killed on the New South Wales Mid North Coast after reports the animals were harassing residents and domestic pets.

Key points:

  • Acting on an “escalation in negative interactions”, a council kills five dingoes at Hawks Nest
  • “Human intervention” is why the dingoes grew dangerous, says the council’s ecologist
  • A research scientist says people put dingoes at risk by feeding them

MidCoast Council senior ecologist Mat Bell said the dingoes were involved in at least five incidents in the past month.

The council had received reports of dingoes attacking pet dogs and stalking, surrounding and growling at residents and visitors, he said.

The council, National Parks and Wildlife Services and NSW Local Land Services, which monitor dingoes in Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens, deemed the animals an unacceptable public risk.

“From about January we noticed a particular escalation in negative interactions,” Mr Bell said.

“We did identify those animals that were exhibiting the greatest risk and the unacceptable risk to human safety.

He said residents and visitors had been feeding the dingoes.

“When they are fed by people they are encouraged by people, which results in them losing their fear of humans and then having greater potential risk of negative interactions with people,” he said.

“The council operates under a management procedure, which mimics the Fraser Island model.

“If dingo behaviour escalates to the point where they represent a threat to the safety of people in our community and particularly small children, unfortunately procedure requires that those specific animals need to be controlled.”

Mr Bell said pest management officers trapped and sedated the five dingoes before they were humanely euthanised, according to MidCoast Council’s dingo management plan.

‘They lose fear, become aggressive’

Dr Katherine Moseby, a University of New South Wales research scientist, said people feeding dingoes was common across Australia — and it put the animals at risk.

A skinny dingo looks towards the camera as it is photographed walking along an empty beach at sunset with ich colours in the sky

Dingo-human interactions on Fraser Island, Queensland, have led to control measures to keep them apart(

Supplied: Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation

)

“It happens in a lot of places,” she said.

“We’ve seen on Fraser Island but also in places in South Australia where people are interacting with dogs and feeding dingoes.

“Obviously, they lose their fear of humans and then they start becoming quite aggressive and they can start intimidating people.

Dr Moseby said the only way to prevent culls of this nature was for people to stop feeding dingoes.

“People have tried other techniques, particularly on Fraser Island, like shock collars and things to try and do adverse stimuli to keep dingoes away from people,” she said.

“But I just think that it’s so important that people understand that if you start feeding dingoes, it ruins it for everyone.

‘Sad outcome’: Council culls dingoes after menacing behaviour around people
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