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Dusty Phantom’s days are numbered

Time is running out for a dingo that has been frequenting the outskirts of Brooms Head. Some locals have nicknamed it ‘Ernie’. Local photographer Stephen Otton, who took the photographs, prefers to call it the ‘Dusty Phantom’ – and being a phantom is probably the only chance the dingo has of surviving.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will attempt to trap a dingo that has been frequenting the northern edge of Brooms Head. At the time of writing the NPWS had been trying to trap the animal for a week. Responding to an enquiry from the Independent, a NPWS spokesperson said the “dingo is thought to have been humanised by people” who have fed the dog. “Subsequently, it is believed to have been responsible for an attack on a domestic dog within the village,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response. “Once it is caught the animal will be destroyed.” Brooms Head photographer Stephen Otton has captured quite a few images of the dingo over recent times. Mr Otton, who described the dingo as “friendly but keeps to himself and doesn’t bother other dogs on the beach”, has dubbed it the ‘Dusty Phantom’; others, he said, call it ‘Ernie’. “I first saw it about 15 to 18 months ago on Brooms Head Road – it was a scraggy looking little thing – about four kilometres out of town,” he said. “I saw it again when it turned up at the fish farm, and now it’s kind of made camp near the beach houses on the edge of town. “I’m fascinated by any wildlife, especially a dingo; I’ve never seen one come into town like that. “I’m up every morning and go out on the beach. “It’s got to know my scent when I’m walking my dogs. “It often follows me up the road when I run my dogs on my pushbike. “So I have to turn around and make it go back. “It runs around my female dog and nips her on the tail – he spins her round and round, like a merry-go-round.” There have been reports of the dingo being spotted at least five kilometres from Brooms Head. NPWS warned: “People are asked not to feed wildlife, including dingos, as this can cause them to lose their natural fear of humans and lead to potential conflict.”