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The BBC's Red Harrison in Sydney
"The nine-year-old boy was dead by the time his father arrived"
 real 28k

Monday, 30 April, 2001, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Dingoes kill boy at tourist spot
Dingo
Fatal attacks by dingoes are extremely rare
A nine year-old boy has been killed and his seven year-old brother injured after being attacked by two dingoes near a popular tourist site in eastern Australia.

Police say the pair had gone for an early morning walk near Waddy Point on Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland when the wild dogs began to follow them.


Frightened, they started to sprint back to the campsite where they had been staying with their parents, but the dingoes pounced on the older boy after he tripped.

The younger boy sustained injuries to his arms and legs after being chased and savaged, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

But when the boys' father returned to the spot, the nine-year-old was dead. The younger child was taken to a hospital on the mainland by helicopter.

Dingoes
Australia's largest mammalian predator
Strongly territorial and highly intelligent
Have lived in Australia for 3,500 years

It is thought to be only the second fatal attack in modern times.

Police said a marksman had killed both dogs, and a coroner had gone to the island to prepare a report.

Inspector Pat Ryan said a male and a female dingo were destroyed, and a forensic examination would be conducted on the animals.

"We are conducting tests to see if these two dogs were the ones responsible," Inspector Ryan told ABC Radio.

"They were destroyed in the vicinity of where the attack took place this morning and we believe they were the most likely animals responsible."

Too close

Some 200 dingoes live on the island, which has a relatively small population. About 20 people have been attacked in the past six years.


The problem is that people are interacting too much with the dingoes

Norma Hannant, resort owner
The BBC's Red Harrison says some residents say they will not go out at night without a heavy stick or weapon because the dingoes are so aggressive.

Beach resort owner Norma Hannant blamed international tourists for encouraging the dingoes by feeding them.

She said they often ignored warnings to keep their distance.

"The problem is that people are interacting too much with the dingoes," she said.

"We are just going to have more culling of dingoes or else we let them kill children. They are vicious things."

Queensland's Premier, Peter Beattie, said dingoes on the island were controlled, and 30-40 had been culled over the last decade.

Dingoes were at the centre of one of Australia's most controversial trials, when Lindy Chamberlain was convicted for murdering her nine-week-old daughter Azaria in 1980.

She spent three years in jail before a court quashed her conviction and ruled that her baby had been taken by a dingo from a campsite near Ayers Rock.

The case inspired the film, A Cry in the Dark, starring Meryl Streep and Sam Neill.

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See also:

30 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Dingoes and man: Uneasy coexistence
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