Shocking number of island dingo encounters

VISITORS to Fraser Island are experiencing an astonishing number of dingo encounters, with more than 150 incident reports filed in just three months, documents released under Right to Information laws reveal.

A boy who was chased by dingoes and a woman who had her hair pulled while she was asleep are among dozens of people who have had encounters with the animal on Fraser Island in 2019.

Documents released under Right to Information reveal at least 160 incident reports involving dingoes on the island, also known as K'gari, were lodged with the Environment Department in about a three-month period to May.

It included visitors approaching dingoes to take photos of the animals - with some even kneeling or crouching near them.

Authorities are urging visitors to be "dingo-safe", with at least 22 people slapped with fines in 2019 for failing to keep food away from the animals and another 12 warned.

There were also three people fined for feeding them.

The RTI documents refer to dozens of incidents when dingoes came close to visitors, including one reported encounter when a woman was sleeping in a swag and she was woken by "something pulling her hair".

"She also felt something touching and licking her arm," the document says.

"She fully woke and saw a dingo looking at her from about 30cm away. Once she woke and sat up, the dingo left and did not return."

The group the woman was with had mistakenly camped outside the camp zone, according to the documents

In another reported encounter, a young boy was walking by himself along a beach when two dingoes approached him.

 

Fraser Island dingoes have been more active than ever.
Fraser Island dingoes have been more active than ever.

 

"Two dingoes were running at him and began to give chase, showing aggressive behaviour and hunting tactics," the document says.

"Ranger was able to reach situation and intervene, dispersing dingoes and getting boy into vehicle for safety.

"Dingoes continued showing dominant behaviour towards ranger…"

It was during this same three-month period that a 14-month-old boy was snatched by a dingo while sleeping in a camper trailer, in an attack that was widely reported at the time.

The boy's father managed to chase the dingo down and rescue his son.

The child was later flown to hospital where he underwent surgery on his skull.

The department is urging visitors to the island to be "dingo-safe", walking in groups, packing away food scraps, never feeding dingoes and camping in fenced areas when possible.

Penalties for deliberately feeding or disturbing dingoes was increased in 2019 to a minimum of $2,135 per offence, and a maximum of $10,676.

The Department confirmed there had been 13 "high risk" interactions in the year to December 9, 2019 - down from the 16 interactions recorded the same time the previous year.

"High-risk interactions include when a dingo lunges, nips or bites a person," it said in a statement.


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