JAKE Kitchen is known to locals as the unofficial expert on dingoes in the area.
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Having completed training through Dingo Den Animal Rescue in Sydney, Mr Kitchen takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the Myall Coast dingo population is healthy and protected, and even operates a rehabilitation centre from his home in Hawks Nest.
Mr Kitchen said that since lockdown, the dingoes have wandered farther and wider to find new food sources.
“The national park has been quiet due to lockdown, so part of their expected food source for this time of year has been removed,” Mr Kitchen said.
“Locals may have noticed that they’ve been travelling in more to the towns in search of food, and have seen them around more often.”
Mr Kitchen said the new danger comes with visitors to the towns beginning to feed the native dingoes which may cause longer-term issues within the population.
“We’ve got a few people who actively feed the dingoes which is to their detriment,” he continued.
“The dingoes become accustomed to being fed, so will start waiting in yards for food or start approaching people in the towns.”
“This can scare people and lead them to call certain authorities, who will start baiting them with 1080 which we really don’t want.”
Even more concerning, Mr Kitchen said, is that the pups who are brought up this way become dependent on humans for food, rather than learning how to hunt and scavenge on their own.
The dingo population is a critical part of the local ecosystem, helping to dispose of animal waste and even control other predatory populations, such as feral cats and foxes.
His advice: “Please just watch them from a distance and let them do their thing.”
By Ashley CHRYSLER