The dingo pair at Hamerton Zoo.
The dingo pair at Hamerton Zoo. Rob Cadd

DINGO DEAL: Zoo, dept shipped off Island stars to UK

FORGET the corgis - two dingoes descended from a Fraser Island pack are now the top dogs in England.

The animals, Daisy and Yogi, made their debut at Hamerton Zoo about a week ago.

It is believed to be the first time Australia's iconic wild dogs have been on display at a British zoo in more than 20 years.

The dingoes were sourced by Darling Downs Zoo, with director Steve Robinson asked to find the purest dingoes possible.

He said the dingoes had been sourced from a private breeder.

The deal got the tick of approval from the necessary departments, however the Chronicle can reveal the Department of Environment and Science is investigating where the dingoes were actually sourced from.

Hamerton Zoo director Andrew Swales said it had taken significant time and money to import the dingoes.

"Due to the amount of cross-breeding with domestic dogs threatening the purity of the dingo, it was important for us to obtain the best animals we could find," he said.

"These are the first to be seen in the UK for many years, and took a lot of effort, and money, to import."

Mr Swales said he was grateful to Darling Downs Zoo for sourcing the animals.

"They put in many, many miles of travel to find the right young animals."

Mr Swales said the zoo was hoping to breed the pair.

"The dingoes form part of a major expansion of Australian animals at our Park, many under ambassador agreements with your government," he said.

"They are proving to be just that and we hope will for the nucleus of a pack."

Mr Robinson said it was hoped the dingoes would also go a long way towards rehabilitating the image of the animals in the UK.

He said for many people overseas, the first thing they thought of when they heard of dingoes was the Lindy Chamberlain case or other attacks that had happened in the years since.

"With an interpretive situation, the entire role of the dingo in ecology can be shown and explained to people.

"Over the years, mainland dingoes have interbred with domestic dogs and it was important the dingoes were as pure as possible to make a meaningful display."

Mr Robinson said over the years a lot of Fraser Island dingoes had been relocated and some had been acquired by private people who were interested in maintaining the pure bloodline.

Given the geographical isolation of Fraser Island, he said when it came to lineage that was understandably the best place to start in sourcing the purest dingoes possible.

He said exporting any Australian animal was a rigorous process.

"There was a lot of protocol to be followed," he said.

Mr Robinson was confident tourism would be bolstered by the inclusion of the dingoes at the zoo, as some would want to see the dingoes in their natural environment on Fraser Island.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Agriculture confirmed the dingoes were exported from Brisbane to the zoo on May 29.

"They met the requirements of export and import, including the veterinary examination pre-export," she said.

"The department is not sure where they were sourced from, however they were both approximately one year of age and they were located at Darling Downs Zoo for at least four months pre-export as per the notice of intention to export and the vet declaration."

A member of the Butchulla community said her people were concerned about dingoes being removed from the island.