THE sad eyes of a female Fraser Island dingo that was later euthanised has won Australian Geographic magazine Best Cover award in a national poll.
The issue took out the best cover in the Science, Technology and Nature category on Tuesday at industry awards The Maggies, which celebrate the best magazine covers of the past year as voted by the public.
The photograph of the 10-month-old dingo was taken by Dr Bradley Smith, a behavioural science researcher who was working with dingoes as part of his PhD at the University of South Australia.
Like the Chronicle, Australian Geographic found the long-running and controversial Fraser Island dingo debate to be something that people everywhere felt strongly about.
Following the issue featuring the dingo on its cover, the magazine was inundated with correspondence, leading it to revisit the debate in the following edition.
"Following a number of attacks, the proximity of humans to a large dingo population has posed a complex conundrum for rangers - an issue that has continued for well over a decade," Australian Geographic said on its website.
"Locals, experts and rangers have debated the merits of culling, deterrence and feeding, and euthanising dingoes is now national parks policy if an animal becomes aggressive or too accustomed to human presence.
"The 10-month-old female dingo on the AG cover illustrated the complexities of the debate perfectly.
"She was humanely put down, along with her litter, after being deemed too habituated to human contact."
Deputy editor John Pickrell, who accepted the award, said the magazine was proud of the beautiful image.
"It's a beautiful close-up shot of a dingo, which is also a little sad," he told the Chronicle.
"You can connect with its eyes and feel like you're looking into a window in its soul.
"I also have no doubt that the sad story about this young female dingo subsequently being put down resonated with the public, who voted for the winning covers."
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