IF THIS sickly young dingo pup proves to be a purebred Fraser Island Dingo, the culprits could face a $300,000 fine or up to two years in prison for taking him out of a national park.
The malnourished male pup, which appears to be purebred, was caught in the early hours of Thursday morning near Maryborough and delivered to the TESS Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management is now investigating the incident amid claims both adult and juvenile dingoes have been taken off the island in increased numbers over the past two years.
DERM regional manager, Great Sandy region, Peter Wright said there had not previously been any confirmation of dingoes being unlawfully taken from the island, but there had been reports.
"The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in the Great Sandy region occasionally receives reports of dingoes being taken from Fraser Island and each one is investigated by the department," Mr Wright said.
TESS Wildlife Sanctuary curator Ray Revill said DERM might have to return to random vehicle inspections on Fraser Island, which had a dingo population estimated to be 100-200.
He said unconfirmed reports of dingoes being taken from Fraser Island had become especially prevalent in the past year.
Cheryl Bryant, publicity officer for conservation group Save Fraser Island Dingoes, said the group received reports that dingoes with ear tags had been spotted on the mainland, but had been unable to confirm it.
The captured young dingo will spend the next four weeks receiving treatment and special care.
Mr Revill said if the pup was confirmed as a Fraser Island dingo, it was not likely to be returned to the island and might stay at the sanctuary.
He said staff would call on the public to give the youngster a name after it had made a full recovery.
It would take at least a month of special feeding and vet care before the animal returned to full health.
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