Child in Queensland hospital after ‘terrifying’ dingo attack near camping ground on K’gari

A young boy who is in hospital after being attacked by a dingo in Queensland is stable and “doing well”, a spokesperson from Hervey Bay hospital has said.

The child, aged five, was bitten on the head, arm, and buttocks at the remote Ocean Lake camping area in K’gari (Fraser Island) on Sunday afternoon.

“The child sustained multiple minor bites before his father managed to get the dingo off him,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue said.

Park rangers said the boy had not provoked the dingo and would investigate to identify the animal involved.

Mayor of the Fraser Coast, George Seymour, said it had been a “terrifying ordeal” for the family.

“There’s an attack around once a year, and the really concerning aspect of that is it’s usually a child aged under 6 or 7,” he said. “It’s really important for visitors [to K’gari] to keep a close eye on their children.”

The risk of interactions on K’gari between humans and dingoes, also referred to as wongari, has increased due to the growing dingo population, according to Queensland Parks and Wildlife dingo ranger Megan Wilson.

Last week, a new seven-kilometre long dingo fence that wraps around the Orchid Beach township was completed. The town is around 10 kilometres from where the boy was attacked.

The Queensland government issued a warning that dingo activity may increase for the month of December inside and outside the fence, particularly on beaches and in unfenced camping areas.

After a four-year-old boy was bitten by a dingo in May last year, Seymour warned it was only a matter of time before another child was killed by a dingo on the island.

The last fatality on the island was 20 years ago, when 9-year-old Clinton Gage was attacked by two dingoes.

Seymour said the council do not want to see the dingoes culled or hunted down after an attack, given they are an essential part of the cultural aspect and values of the island.

“We’re all concerned about any attacks by the dingoes,” he said. “It is the wilderness so there is a risk of a wildlife attack and I think the rangers do a really good job of educating people on the risks.”

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has reminded visitors to K’gari to be “dingo safe” at all times. It advised people to stay within arms reach of children, walk in groups, camp in fenced areas where possible, do not run, never feed dingoes, lock up food stores, never store food in tents, and secure all rubbish and fishing bait.

Fraser Island is in the process of having its name reinstated as K’gari, which means paradise in the Butchulla language.

“The name Fraser Island is culturally inappropriate,” the Queensland environment minister, Meaghan Scanlon, said earlier this year.

“It is a tribute to Eliza Fraser, a woman whose narrative directly led to the massacre and dispossession of the Butchulla people.”

Additional reporting by Australian Associated Press

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