What Should we do?

Published: April 27, 2011

A spate of dingo incidents on Fraser Island has once again put the way the animals are managed in the spotlight.

In the latest incident, a three-year-old girl escaped serious injury after being bitten on the legs by two dingoes near the barge at Hook Point. The dingoes responsible for Monday’s attack were caught and destroyed following a search by park rangers.

According to a report in the Brisbane Courier-Mail, the little girl had spent the day on the island with her mother and grandmother, fishing and playing, and the family was preparing to head back to the mainland when the attack occurred.

She suffered bite wounds to the legs and spent Monday night in Gympie Hospital under observation.

The girl’s father, David Kennedy, said his daughter would be OK.

“Understandably she’s not particularly happy with all that’s gone on, but she’s only three years of age,” he said.

Dingo expert Dr Ian Gunn, from Monash University, has called for an immediate review of the dingo management strategy on the island, and says parents need to supervise children more closely.

“(Attacks) are a problem that will keep recurring because there are more tourists coming on to the island,” he told the Courier-Mail. “With people wandering down and, by all accounts, letting kids wander off and then confronting a dingo then running away, that just encourages them.”

Department of Environment and Resource Management marine general manager Terry Harper said the dingoes involved in the attack were the fourth and fifth to be destroyed this year after a number of “fairly serious or concerning instances”.

The Save Fraser Island Dingoes group has previously complained about the dingoes starving, calling for them to be fed and for the euthanasia of dogs to end.

But Mr Harper yesterday denied that natural food supplies were dwindling on the island, or that the dingoes were starving.

“The research that we have done shows that that isn’t the case,” he said in a radio interview.

“The dingoes on Fraser Island are on average 3-5kg heavier than their mainland counterparts. There is plenty of natural food around for them.”

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