Dingoes on Fraser Island are becoming a celebrity of their own, albeit at a very high price. There have been a few reports recently in the news about attacks on tourists on Fraser Island by dingoes, the wild dogs of Australia. Usually after such attacks, the animals are put down by the authorities.
In the latest attack, according to an eye-witness, a couple of dingoes stalked a 3-year old girl wandering into the bushes. They then jumped on her. The witness added that if the child was supervised, that accident would have occurred. But it makes you wonder why the eye-witness didn’t come to the rescue of the girl as soon as he saw the dingoes stalking her. The girl was saved when adults came to her rescue but she had already suffered serious injury by then.
Fraser Island is a large sand island situated off the east coast of Australia, near the state of Queensland. The island is the largest sand island in the world and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year who come to see its stunning sandy beaches and wildlife habitats – mangroves, forests, swamps.
Among the wildlife thriving on the island are dingoes. Dingoes are wild dogs common across all of Australia but have cross-bed a lot with domestic dogs. However, the population of dingoes of Fraser Island are said to be pure and as a result, are a protected species in the national park. There are around 200 of them left on the island.
More and more tourists are now visiting the island to see these dingoes in their natural habitat. They are anxious to get great pictures to take back home and try to coax a reaction out of the animals. They also try to feed them or leave food behind despite warnings on the island not to do so and to leave the animals alone. Visitors should remember that dingoes are wild animals, not pet dogs and are natural predators inclined to attack. Parents are also expected to keep an eye on their children and prevent them from straying too far. Toddlers won’t differentiate between a dingo and a big dog. Don’t let them wander off and pull the tiger’s tail! The combination of all these factors putting pressure on the natural habitat of dingoes in a protected environment leads to dingo attacks on human, something that is becoming more and more frequent.
Only in January this year, another attack was reported when a Korean woman was surrounded by a pack of dingoes. She managed to drive them off and suffered only minor injury. In 2001, a young boy was killed by dingoes on the island. This short article on dingo attacks would not be complete without mentioning the name of Lindy Chamberlain who reported her infant being snatched by a dingo in central Australia in 1980. She was accused of murder before her story was believed. A movie starring Meryl Streep, A cry in the Dark, was even made in 1988 based on those events.
The unfortunate result of dingoes attacking people is that they are then put down as a safety measure, further reducing their small population on this island. This should act as a warning call to tourists to respect natural habitats and their inhabitants they are visiting, to keep their distance and not to interfere with wildlife.
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