February 26, 2024

Dingoes attack a woman jogging on an Australian island beach and leave her in hospital

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A jogging woman was driven into the surf by a pack of dingoes and attacked in the latest conflict between native dogs and people on a popular Australian island, prompting new warnings Tuesday for visitors to went on the scene.

The 24-year-old woman was attacked by three to four dingoes on Monday while jogging on a beach at Queensland state’s K’gari, the world’s largest sand island formerly known as Fraser Island, officials said. .

The World Heritage-listed national park has some of Australia’s purest dingoes, also known by their Indigenous name wongari, as domestic dogs have been banned for a long time. Tourists returned to the island after the lifting of pandemic restrictions, and discovered that the dingoes are not watching people any less. That raised the risk to both species, wildlife ranger Linda Behrendorff said.

Two onlookers rescued the woman from the docks after chasing her into the surf, using the same hunting technique they use for larger prey such as wallabies, Behrendorff said.

The victim was flown by helicopter to Hervey Bay Hospital on the mainland in a stable condition suffering multiple wounds to her limbs and torso, Queensland Ambulance Service said.

Park authorities are considering whether to destroy the dingo pack, including one that was assembled because of “high-risk behavior” toward humans in the past, Behrendorff said.

A dingo last month was the first to be killed on the island since 2019 after it attacked a 7-year-old boy and mauled a 42-year-old French tourist. Wedges are a protected species.

Visitors to the island are warned to be aware of wedges. Tourists are advised not to run or jog outside fenced areas, keep children within arm’s reach, walk with a stick and avoid providing them with food. Dingoes go to people mostly for food.

The situation would be much safer without the need for tourists to post selfies with wildlife on social media, she said.

“Those people are putting themselves at risk and they’re putting that animal at risk by calling them to get a selfish shot to post that in a situation that makes themselves a hero,” Behrendorff said. by Australian Broadcasting Corp. “They don’t understand the risks they put themselves and even that animal in.”

She cited a recent example of a man posting a photo of himself hand-feeding a toddler next to him.

“We spend most of our time trying to manage people. Dingoes will do what dingoes do. Dingoes are easy to work out,” Behrendorff said.

Butchulla Aboriginal Corp member Darren Blake said. representing the traditional owners of K’gari, visitors had to understand that dingoes were very different from domestic dogs.

“My heart goes out to the young woman and I hope this hits home for everyone else,” Blake said, referring to the victim of Monday’s attack.

“They are not puppy dogs. They are wild, apex predators. Give them that respect,” Blake added.

George Seymour, the mayor of the local Fraser Coast Regional Council, said that there seemed to be more attacks on the island in the last two years than in the last decade.

“Something different has been happening in the last two years,” Seymour said, referring to the frequency of dingo interactions with people.

The change was very worrying because it is very scary to be attacked by wildlife,” added Seymour.

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