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from The Age, Australia

    Dingoes kill young boy


Monday 30 April 2001, 04:09 PM

Wild dingoes attacked and killed a young boy while he was walking with a friend on a beach on Fraser Island this morning.

A Queensland police media spokesperson confirmed to Age Online early this afternoon a nine-year-old boy had been killed in the attack.

It is understood the boy and his seven-year-old friend were stalked by two dingoes as they went for an early morning walk along the beach.


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Police said the two boys were camped with their families at Waddy Point, on the ocean side of the island.

Mr John Sinclair from local conservation group, Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, said he believed the boys fled, but were pursued by the animals.

The seven-year-old boy escaped unhurt and raised the alarm. The father of the nine-year-old raced to the scene with his own seven-year-old son.

The pair found the nine-year-old dead and the dingoes still at the scene. The boy's seven-year-old brother was then attacked by a dingo and suffered multiple bite marks to the arms, legs and body, police said.

He was airlifted to the Hervey Bay Hospital and was expected to be released late this afternoon.

The police spokeswoman said officers from Hervey Bay have gone to the island to investigate.

Police threw up an air exclusion zone over part of the island to prevent television cameramen and photographers encroaching on the scene before investigations had finished.

The Queensland coroner is also expected to investigate the death.

One report said the dingo responsible for the fatal attack had been found and shot, although according to Sky News rangers are still tracking the animal. Sky News also reported that the dingo had been responsible for previous attacks.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said two dingoes were involved in the fatal attack and began following the two boys as they were walking.

He said the seven-year-old who survived the attack had given clear descriptions of the dingoes to park rangers.

Mr Beattie said a risk assessment would be conducted to see whether all dingoes on the island should be destroyed.

Outside a cabinet meeting on the Gold Coast today, Mr Beattie extended his sympathy to the families of the two boys involved.

"Police have taken full control of the situation here and the matter will be fully investigated," he told reporters.

"Some 30 to 40 dingoes have been destroyed on Fraser Island over the last 10 years."

The Fraser Island Defence Organisation warned of the increasing danger to people from the island's dingoes in a recent newsletter.

"...the number of dingo incidents has started to increase alarmingly. Two dingoes were killed by rangers in October, 2000, for harassing tourists...FIDO wants to see the situation revert to what it was only 20 years ago when dingoes were timid and afraid of humans," the group warned in a recent newsletter.

Mr Sinclair said dingoes had become dangerous because tourists were flouting rules and getting too close to the animals. He said strict fines should be introduced for people seen taking close-up photographs of the dingoes.

"Befriending dingoes is going to kill people," Mr Sinclair said.

While not wanting to allocate blame for yesterday's attack, he said the boys should not have run from the animals.

"If they didn't run they wouldn't be where they now are," he said.

Fraser Island is famous for its dingo population.

But signs warning tourists of the dingoes are posted around the island. People are warned to keep away from the animals, and not to feed them.

Copyright © The Age Company Ltd 2001.

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