• Dingo euthanased by rangers after K’gari attack

    July 18, 2023

    PRESS RELEASE

    Rangers have euthanased the dingo involved in the attack on a woman on K’gari Island earlier this week.

     

    Dingo walking along beach in K'gari Island formerly known as Fraser Island

     

    The dingo, the second to be put to sleep on K’gari in as many months, was euthanased on Wednesday.

    A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson said the dingo, which was wearing a GPS tracking collar, was responsible for a number of recent attacks, including on a young boy and a French tourist.

    The spokesperson said the animal was “captured and humanely euthanased”.

    On Monday, the 23-year-old woman was jogging on Orchid Beach on K’gari Island (Fraser Island) in Queensland when she was attacked.

    Rangers say the woman was herded into the water by the pack before being helped by witnesses.

    She woman received dozens of bite wounds but is recovering in hospital.

    Dingo cull debate

    This latest incident has prompted renewed calls for a dingo cull on K’gari Island.

    A French tourist was bitten last month just days after a young boy was dragged underwater by a dingo.

    Dr. Linda Behrendorff is the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Ranger in charge on K’gari.

    While she describes the attack as “particularly severe”, she says culling is not the solution.

    Dingo walking on beach at K'gari Island (Fraser Island) while men fishing nearby watch on
    It’s common to see the dingos walking along the beaches on K’gari Island, but tourists are urged not to approach or feed them (credit: Unsplash)

    “(Firstly) I hope the lady is doing okay,” Dr Behrendorff said during an interview on ABC Radio this morning.

    “I want to acknowledge the people who stopped to assist her; it would’ve been a terrifying situation for all involved.”

    Dr Behrendorff says one reason rangers are against the cull is because, by definition, a cull is performed to reduce a population of animals.

    “Whereas in this particular case, it would involve the selective removal of individuals to remove a risk.”

    The history of the dingoes involved in attack

    According to Dr Behrendorff, the pack involved in the latest incident resides in the northern part of the island.

    One of the dingoes was already wearing a collar due to previous high-risk behaviour.

    While that high-risk behaviour includes making contact with people, it hadn’t escalated to attacks prior to yesterday.

    While the dingo responsible for the attacks on the tourist and young boy last month was euthanised, Dr Behrendorff said any decision regarding the animals involved in this latest attack will be made at a “much higher level” and only after a thorough investigation.

    QWPS said last month the euthanised dingo had presented a concerning pattern of negative interactions towards people.

    In a statement, it said there was “a series of threatening and high-risk interactions recorded, including five high-risk interactions.”

    “Euthanising a high-risk dingo is a last resort, but this decision is in line with the Fraser Island Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy and part of QPWS’s commitment to ensuring the safety of everyone who visits or lives on the island.

    “Dingoes that lose their natural wariness of people and become habituated may become aggressive while seeking food.”

    Dingo conservation on K’gari Island (Fraser Island) 

    Dingo chart showing body features make them different to dogs

    The K’gari dingoes are a native species and are protected by law in Queensland national parks.

    There’s estimated to be only a couple of hundred dingoes on K’gari.

    The K’gari dingo may become the purest strain of dingo in Australia as they haven’t crossbred with domestic or feral dogs as the mainland population has.

    As part of the Island’s ecology, the ongoing survival of the species relies on education, engineering, and enforcement.

    Rangers use dingo-deterrent fencing on K’gari and run education campaigns to protect people and help the dingoes keep their natural way of life.

    Those who break the law and interact with the dingoes can receive a maximum fine of $12,384 (and on-the-spot fine of $2476).

    The rangers and government have further information about the dingoes – including education, safety, and awareness campaigns – online.

    Dingo in water in Australia
    Dingoes often cool off in the beach water on K’gari Island

    Educating tourists is key to minimising dingo attacks

    Dr Behrendorff says rangers focus on educating the people on K’gari about potential dangers and how to avoid dingo attacks.

    Those most at risk of being attacked, she says, are those who don’t take their advice.

    “(That includes) walk with a stick, don’t run or jog, stay close to kids, and don’t whistle them over for an Instagram photo”.

    Dingo safety tips 

    Do not approach or encourage interaction with dingoes.

    Do not feed dingoes under any circumstances as it encourages them to associate people with food.

    Camp in fenced areas where possible and always sleep or rest within arm’s reach of children.

    Dispose of rubbish in provided dingo-resistant bins and secure food stores and bait safely.

    Walk in groups and stay close (within arm’s reach) of children and young teenagers.

    Do not run or jog as it can trigger a negative dingo interaction.

    If threatened by a dingo, stand still, fold your arms across chest, face the dingo, then calmly back away.

    If you’re in danger, call for help.

    Stay safe and respect the wildlife on K’gari Island. Remember, they’re wild animals and their behaviour can be unpredictable.

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