Dingo Attacks 6-Year-Old Child in Australia Jan 21, 2019 18:59:27 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Jan 21, 2019 18:59:27 GMT -5
Dingo Attacks 6-Year-Old Child in Australia
Ranger patrols on Fraser Island in Queensland, Australia, are increasing after a young boy was attacked by a dingo over the weekend. The 6-year-old remains hospitalized and isn’t expected to be released for several days. It is understood he was bitten several times on the lower leg.
The child encountered a pack of four dingoes when returning to a camping area with his family at Eurong on the eastern side of the island. According to the boy’s father, everything happened very quickly. “We understand that the island is home to the dingoes and that this was just an unfortunate incident,” he said in a statement from Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service. “We think the rangers on Fraser Island do a great job of raising awareness about dingoes and that on the whole, people who stay on the island respect the dingoes and the advice of the rangers.”
Regular visitors blame tourists for feeding the animals and luring them closer. A spokesperson for Queensland Parks and Wildlife indicated rangers will be stepping-up patrols in the area, monitoring the dingoes and trying to identify the culprit.
Campers are encouraged to remain alert and report any negative dingo encounters. A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science said dingoes that are “particularly aggressive and deemed an unacceptable risk may be removed in consultation with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation.” The department confirmed the dingo responsible for the attack has not been identified and authorities aren’t planning on destroying the dog involved.
“When I was a child, you would never see a dog,” John Sinclair, founder of the Fraser Island Defenders Association (FIDO), commented. However, it is his belief dingoes are becoming unafraid of humans on the island and therefore, appearing in larger numbers. “I can remember my first trip to the island in 1957,” he recalled. “We knew there were dingoes there then, but we never saw one. They were adept at making themselves very secretive. You couldn’t lure them out, but now of course, they’ve lost their fear of humans to a large extent and they’re less afraid to approach.”
Andrew Richter lives in Brisbane, but has a holiday house at Orchid Beach and visits Fraser Island regularly. He indicated he had noticed an increase in dingo numbers on the island as well as a change in the behavior of the dogs. “When I was a child, you would never see a dog. You would hear them at night. They would never come around vehicles. The problem is people are feeding the dogs,” he explained. “You would go up there sometimes and never see a dog … now they come up close to the car.” Richter videotaped a pack of dingoes that approached his car this summer. “Most dogs keep their distance. These dogs came within meters of our car. They weren’t sheepish like you expect a wild animal to be.”
Richter said he wasn’t surprised to learn of the attack on the young boy. After encountering two different dingo packs on the island this summer, he was worried enough to alert Parks and Wildlife officers. “They said they were patrolling and were aware there were dogs around. They need to make a note of the tags on the dogs so they could identify which dogs are becoming a problem,” he added. “But I think they need to do an assessment and see how many dogs can survive on the island with its natural resources.” He was critical of those who feed and encourage dingoes. “They are calling the dogs over to them. They have their windows down. I’ve heard people encourage them to the car … just to get a photo.”
Sinclair complained the dingoes have grown used to humans because people feed them instead of allowing them to fend for themselves. “There are just some animal lovers who can’t bear to see a hungry animal, and the other reason is people are very keen to get close photographs and get up close and personal to dingoes,” he explained. “In that process, people are luring them closer and closer and that, of course, then changes their behavior.” He said the number of dingoes on Fraser Island varies from 100 to 200. “If it goes higher than that, then it’s greater than their natural food supply and comes down to people supplying them with food,” he added.
Sources: Megan Kinninment, Australian Broadcasting Company, January 20, 2019, and Natalie Musumeci, The New York Post, January 21, 2019.