Dingo Bold: The life and death of K’gari dingoes (Rowena Lennox, Sydney University Press)
In Dingo Bold, Rowena Lennox wrestles with the emotionally laden subject of the human–wild divide through the lens of the policies managing the dingoes on K’gari (Fraser Island). Along the way she breathes life into stories of the dingoes she meets and learns about, including the eponymous Bold. Through a number of intimate personal asides, Lennox helps us to understand her biases and state of mind as she interprets the situation on K’gari for the reader. She writes of the tensions that arise when livestock or tourists are attacked and a dingo cull ensues—which some experts suggest may increase the likelihood of the problem recurring. Connecting the approach of wildlife management bureaucracy with colonial means of understanding land and animals, Lennox sadly notes that research data, largely commissioned by agricultural or tourism interests, often results in recommendations less to do with wildlife concerns and more to do with the business stakes of those industries. Lennox bemoans the so-called objectivity of the reports when the premises upon which they are based are so clearly influenced by these interests. ‘If dingoes can’t be dingoes in a World Heritage-listed area, where can they be dingoes?’ Dingo Bold is a thoroughly engaging and deeply personal book that examines dingo life and the humans charged with their survival.
Warren Bonett owned Embiggen Books and has a degree in outdoor education.