A nine-year-old boy and his mother have been attacked by a dingo on Queensland’s Fraser Island last night, with Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) airlifting the pair to hospital on the mainland. QAS spokesman Michael Augustus has said the pair are believed to be French tourists and were bitten by the same dingo. This incident comes as a timely reminder that dingoes are wild animals, and should be treated with the respect a wild animal commands.
Unfortunately wild dingoes on Fraser Island, as well as across Australia, are treated by some with a complacency that you would associated with a domesticated puppy at the local park. Dingoes, despite how they are often portrayed, are indeed wild dogs, and need to be afforded the same respect. Should you be over on Fraser Island and come across a solitary, or a pack of dingoes, the respect of interacting with a wild animal needs to be given, which will ensure your and the dingo’s safety.
Should you feel threatened around the dingoes of Fraser Island, here are some tips that could save an incredible encounter becoming a tragedy:
- Stand still and at your full height with your arms across your chest. This is to make yourself look as big as possible to the dingoes.
- Face toward the dingoes, and very calmly back away.
- If you are with another person, stand back to back.
- If you need assistance, calmly and confidently call for help.
- Wait until the dingoes have gone before continuing on your way.
- DO NOT run or wave your arms.
- As with all wild animals, dingoes sense fear; they are the apex predator of the island, and indeed Australia.
If you encounter a dingo, but are in a safe place such as a vehicle, or fenced off area, feel free to take photos and admire them. Dingoes are stunning animals that you can have amazing encounters with. They are indeed one of the greatest draws to Fraser Island, aside from the magic beaches, four-wheel driving and fishing of course. Dingoes should never be a reason not to go to Fraser Island, but arming yourself with a bit of knowledge can be the difference between having a safe encounter with an Australian icon, or a tragedy.
More information on how to act when in proximity to dingoes can be found on the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services site here.