Some of Fraser Island's famous wildlife could be harmed or starving conservationists fear, as bushfires on the island continue burning for an eighth week.

Flying over the island on Saturday, conservationists said they were "fighting back tears" at the scale of the devastation.

Aerial views show parts of the World Heritage site stripped bare by fire while waves black with ash lapped the shores of the island.

Over 50 per cent of Fraser Island has been scorched. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Over 50 per cent of Fraser Island has been scorched. Picture: Sarah Marshall

 

Aerial photos reveal the scale of the damage. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Aerial photos reveal the scale of the damage. Picture: Sarah Marshall


Residents at Orchid Beach - on the north east of the island - said they had seen dingo territory wars.

"There were some mothers that came in and were belting up the pups," The Courier Mail was told.

"From six and there were four and now … there's only one or two."

A starving dingo on Orchid Beach. Picture: Supplied
A starving dingo on Orchid Beach. Picture: Supplied

Save our Fraser Island Dingos public relations officer Cheryl Bryant said the situation highlighted the need for on the ground support.

"We really need on the ground surveillance when they open it up and have a look and see," she said - hoping the December 14 opening date was not "too late".

Huge parts of the island have been completely destroyed. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Huge parts of the island have been completely destroyed. Picture: Sarah Marshall


Fraser Island will remain closed to visitors until December 14, with some parts of the island restricted until late January.

Over 50 per cent of Fraser Island has been scorched as a massive bush fires continue to consume the island. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Over 50 per cent of Fraser Island has been scorched as a massive bush fires continue to consume the island. Picture: Sarah Marshall


The Humane Society International (HSI) - one of the world's top animal protection organisations - said in a Facebook post it was "monitoring the distressing situation on K'gari (Fraser Island)".

The fires continue to burn. Picture: Sarah Marshall
The fires continue to burn. Picture: Sarah Marshall

"The fallout from such heavily disrupted ecosystems and potential food shortage for K'gari's famous dingoes will require close monitoring for months to come and we are on standby to provide any assistance needed," the group said in a statement on Facebook.

The rich ecosystem has been completely disrupted. Picture: Sarah Marshall
The rich ecosystem has been completely disrupted. Picture: Sarah Marshall

"We met with key staff from the offices of Minister for Environment, Meaghan Scanlon, and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan, along with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services," the group said in a post.

Despite the devastation there is hope for the island’s wildlife as the fires are slow moving. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Despite the devastation there is hope for the island’s wildlife as the fires are slow moving. Picture: Sarah Marshall

 

The fires continue to burn. Picture: Sarah Marshall
The fires continue to burn. Picture: Sarah Marshall

"We were briefed that the immediate impacts on wildlife welfare may be far less than we witnessed during the Black Summer fires due to the slow-moving nature of the fire which may have allowed more animals to escape."

Aerial photos of the devastation. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Aerial photos of the devastation. Picture: Sarah Marshall


HSI said it was concerned about the potential loss of native wildlife and would provide assistance "if required" when the island reopens.

The contrast between the ocean and burnt out bushland is stark. Picture: Sarah Marshall
The contrast between the ocean and burnt out bushland is stark. Picture: Sarah Marshall


Fraser Island is home to 601 species of native animals and 918 species of native plants, according to DES data.

Save Fraser Island Dingos’ Malcolm Kilpatrick, Cheryl Bryant and Karin Kilpatrick. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Save Fraser Island Dingos’ Malcolm Kilpatrick, Cheryl Bryant and Karin Kilpatrick. Picture: Sarah Marshall


Dr Patrick Norman, a researcher from Griffith's Climate Change Response Program, previously said due to its size the Fraser Island fire would have affected a range of unique flora and fauna.

Save Fraser Island Dingos’ (left to right) Cheryl Bryant, Malcolm Kilpatrick, Karin Kilpatrick plan their flight with Fraser Air pilots. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Save Fraser Island Dingos’ (left to right) Cheryl Bryant, Malcolm Kilpatrick, Karin Kilpatrick plan their flight with Fraser Air pilots. Picture: Sarah Marshall


From satellite imagery and ecosystem mapping, Dr Norman said he estimated that the 76,000ha burnt by fire up to Monday could be broken down into: wallum heath (~37,000ha), dry eucalypt forest dominated by scribbly gum (~16,000ha), dune vegetation (~7,500ha) and wetlands (~3,500ha).

Save Fraser Island Dingos’ (left to right) Malcolm Kilpatrick and Karin Kilpatrick. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Save Fraser Island Dingos’ (left to right) Malcolm Kilpatrick and Karin Kilpatrick. Picture: Sarah Marshall


"These communities are well adapted to fire, however the size and extent of these burnt areas in combination with the 2019 blazes, means that much of this habitat has been impacted on island," he said.

"It's just quite devastating for the area."


Originally published as 'Fighting back tears': Aerial shots reveal Fraser fire devastation


Wet, wild and hot with a chance of cyclone

Premium Content Wet, wild and hot with a chance of cyclone

Wild and wet weekend expected for parts of Queensland

Protester compared to Sir David Attenborough in Bowen court

Premium Content Protester compared to Sir David Attenborough in Bowen court

An 81-year-old environmentalist was one of two people who faced the magistrate...

Yikes! Woman goes for swim in croc-infested Proserpine River

Premium Content Yikes! Woman goes for swim in croc-infested Proserpine River

Police: Precautions must be taken around the river and other crocodile habitats