Fraser Island is home to 47 species of mammals, 354 species of birds have been seen, 79 species of reptiles including 19 kinds of snakes. The waters surrounding the island have dolphins, dugongs, turtles, rays, and migrating humpback whales.
Each animal has a place in nature’s ecosystem, be it as a predator or pollinator, soil enricher, or seed carrier. Even the smallest animal can cause an environmental imbalance if disturbed and it is for this reason that we should do our best to respect and conserve the native fauna of Fraser Island.
Fraser Island dingoes are very special as they are the purest strain of dingos on the eastern coast. Dingoes of Fraser Island have significant preservation value due to their pure status, due to domestic dogs being banned from the island. There is estimated to be around 25 to 30 packs on the island, each containing 3 to 12 dingoes. On Fraser Island, the dingoes are at the very top of the island’s food chain, which serves a vital role in the island’s conservation.
People may think of dingoes as friendly dogs roaming free, but they are far more dangerous than they seem. There has been a number of reports of threatening encounters with dingoes on Fraser Island. Being capable of running faster than a human adult, dingoes can be both fast, cunning, and sometimes nasty. Children especially are at risk, as they are more likely seen as prey. Despite this, you can still see Dingoes safety, with the island making key rules and restrictions to keep both you and the dingoes as safe as possible. These rules include no feeding or patting the dingoes, keeping a safe distance, and to dispose of rubbish correctly.
Fraser Island has some 354 recorded bird species and a number of the island’s birds are considered rare or vulnerable.
Fraser Island provides a range of habitats and it is only through the conservation of these habitats that the island can retain its rich abundance of birdlife.
The best times to observe birds are early mornings after sunrise and mid to late afternoons and a great range of birds can also be seen by walking through a variety of vegetation types.
Nocturnal birds, such as tawny frogmouths and owls can sometimes be observed at night, swooping silently down from the trees to catch prey. During the day the tawny frogmouth roosts on branches and is difficult to see as its mottled grey and brown plumage helps it to resemble a dead branch or stump.
Eighteen birds of prey species have been observed on Fraser Island. One of the largest of these raptors is the white-bellied sea eagle.
Many wading birds are seen on the island and some migrate from as far away as Siberia. The largest migratory wader, the eastern curlew, can be seen from August to March and whimbrels from September to April. A resident wader, the pied oystercatcher; can often be seen at low tide looking for bivalve mollusks.
Sea birds are often seen diving into the ocean after fish. Cormorants and darters can be spotted on yacht masts and branches drying their wings.
From July to November is the best time to visit the island if you are interested in seeing whales. Every year over 1200 Humpback Whales make the 5000km trip along the East Coast of Australia.
During their migration, the whales will spend anywhere from one day to two weeks resting within the shelters of Fraser Island to nurse their newborn calves.
So if visiting Fraser Island during this time of the year, as you cruise along the eastern ‘highway’ in a 4X4 don’t forget to look out for Whales.