Canberra, Australia – A woman jogging in waves was attacked by a pack of dingoes in the latest confrontation between local dogs and humans on a popular Australian island, prompting new warnings for adventurous visitors on Tuesday.
Officials said the 24-year-old was attacked by three or four Great Danes on Monday while jogging on a beach in Kagari, Queensland, the world’s largest sand island formerly known as Fraser Island.
The World Heritage-listed national park is home to some of Australia’s purest dingoes, also known by their native name Wungari, because local dogs have long been banned. Tourists returned to the island after pandemic restrictions were lifted and found that dingoes had become less wary of humans. This increases the risks for both species, said forest officer Linda Birndorf.
Behrendorf said two passers-by saved the woman from dingoes after chasing her into the surf, using the same hunting technique they used on larger prey such as wallabies.
Queensland Ambulance Service said the victim was flown by helicopter to Hervey Bay Hospital on the mainland and was in stable condition with multiple injuries to her limbs and torso.
Behrendorf said park authorities are considering destroying the dingo’s enclosure, which includes one that was cordoned off due to previous “dangerous behavior” toward humans.
Last month, a dingo became the first animal to be destroyed on the island since 2019 after it attacked a 7-year-old boy and beat a 42-year-old French tourist. Dingo is a protected species.
Visitors to the island are warned to watch out for the dingo. Tourists are advised not to run or run outside of fenced areas, to keep children within easy reach, to walk with a stick, and to avoid feeding dingoes. Dingoes mainly approach humans for food.
He said it would be safer without tourists having to take selfies with wildlife to post on social media.
Behrendorff told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “They do not understand the risks they put themselves in and even that animal.”
He cited the recent example of a man who posted a photo of himself feeding a dog while a baby was next to him.
“We spend most of our time trying to manage people. Dingoes will do what dingoes do. It’s easy to play Dingo,” Berndorff said.
Darren Blake, a member of Puchula Aboriginal Corp. representing the traditional Kagari owners, visitors need to understand that the dingo is very different from the local dogs.
“My heart goes out to the young lady, and I hope it affects everyone else in the house,” Blake said, referring to the victim of Monday’s attack.
“They are not dogs. They are wild predators. Give them that respect,” Blake added.
George Seymour, the mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, said there appeared to be more attacks on the island in the past two years than in the previous decade.
“Something different has happened in the last couple of years,” Seymour said, referring to the frequency of dingo interactions with people.
Seymour added that the change was “very disturbing because it is very terrifying to have wildlife attack you”.
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