Six-year-old in hospital with leg injuries after being bitten by a dingo on a sand dune.
A six-year-old boy has been attacked after unexpectedly running into a pack of dingoes on world heritage-listed Fraser Island, where the wild dog population is a protected species.
The child was bitten on the leg on Saturday afternoon after running up a sand dune.
The boy had been swimming with his family, and ran up the dune, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Lifeflight rescue helicopter crewman Dan Leggat said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, when he got to the top, there was a pack of four dingoes,” Leggat said.
“One of the dingoes attacked the boy and bit him on the leg,”
The boy was treated by paramedics on the island and airlifted to the mainland at Hervey Bay.
Fraser Island, off Australia’s Queensland coast, is home to Australia’s most significant purebred dingo colony. About 200 dingoes inhabit the sand island, where they remain the apex predator and have been isolated from crossbreeding with feral and domestic dogs.
Tourists are warned to take precautions outside of fenced areas, including walking in groups, keeping children within arm’s length and not running as it attracts dingoes.
Dingoes are considered a pest outside of national parks in Queensland, but have protected status in the most significant nature reserves.
Dogs considered to be “high-risk” or particularly dangerous are shot by rangers, but the population on Fraser Island is considered important for the local ecosystem, and of significant conservation value.
A child was killed on the island in 2001, and his brother seriously injured, after they were mauled by dingoes.
That attack was the only fatal dingo attack recorded since the infamous disappearance of nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain at Uluru in 1980.