June 19, 2017
Guests at the inaugural Wondai Country Festival can get up close and personal with dingoes on Saturday – a very appropriate thing to do, given that Wondai supposedly means “dingo”.
Simon Stretton from the Durong Dingo Sanctuary will be attending the festival, and he’ll be bringing along some of the Sanctuary’s dingoes to help dispel the many myths that surround Australia’s only native dog.
Dingo Simon unabashedly loves dingoes, and set up his Sanctuary in 2009 to house and protect them after 17 years of involvement with dingo breeding programs in Victoria
These days, the State Government has declared dingoes a Class 2 pest, and keeping a dingo in Queensland without a permit can attract a $30,000 fine.
But Simon has many dingoes, all registered with Biosecurity Queensland, and the Sanctuary is officially regarded as a zoo.
Simon’s dingoes are all microchipped and have been DNA-tested for genetic purity.
At Durong, the animals are kept in special pens behind 2.4m walls, enclosed by electric fences. Each pen has double entry doors and are kept padlocked.
The security is more to protect the dingoes from human predators than anything else – the dogs are actually quite gentle animals.
Many are also quite rare.
Simon raises funds for the Sanctuary by exhibiting his dingoes at local schools and shows, as well as encouraging visitors from all over Australia to visit his Durong site in person to learn more about them and their habits at first hand.
Right now, he is conducting a GoFundMe campaign to raise $17,000 so that he can replace the worn-out campervan he uses as a “wildlife ambulance” to rescue and save native wildlife, as well as transport dingos to shows.
Simon and his dingoes will be appearing at the Festival on Saturday morning.
The event also includes a Fun Run, a Fun Walk, bicycle races, the Wondai Country Markets, special entertainment for children and a Slim Dusty Tribute Concert in the afternoon.