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New $350,000 fence will keep tourists and dingoes apart

July 5, 2013 DESTINATION, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The Queensland Government is building a lengthy dingo fence at a cost of AUD 350,000 on the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, off Queensland’s southern coast.

Dingo attacks on tourists visiting the island have led to a review of conservation and management. The latest attack happened last month, when a woman’s arm was badly bitten.

Fraser Island’s David Anderson told Channel Seven local news the woman went towards the water at Eurong on the island and tripped and fell.

“Then the dingo grabbed her by the arm and she couldn’t get if off the arm, she actually managed to stand up with the dingo still hanging from her arm,” he said.

A dingo fence will be built on Cathedral Beach and rangers will mount extra patrols during peak Canis_lupus_dingo_-_cleland_wildlife_parkholiday periods. Safety signage will be upgraded, especially about the hazards of feeding dingoes.

The problem, locals say, is that tourists keep feeding the animals.

Dingos and human visitors have quite a history on the island, although at most times they coexist without incident.

There have been very serious attacks, the worst happening in 2001 when two dingoes killed nine-year-old Clinton Gage near Waddy Point on the island. His death and the subsequent culling of 31 dingoes caused much consternation among residents. Erecting fences was suggested.

In November 2012, rangers killed a six-month-old dingo after 25 incidents that included “lunging” at a family, running out of bushland at high speed towards volleyball players, and grabbing two tourists on separate occasions with its mouth, though not breaking the skin on either occasion.

In the latest dingo incident, last month, rangers subsequently killed the dingo that attacked the woman on the seashore. The animal’s bite caused a large laceration on the woman’s arm.

Dingo experts noted that the attack came at the end of dingo mating season, which runs from March to June. That period poses the highest risk for what one authority termed “negative dingo-human interactions”.

Dingoes are not the only wildlife associated with Fraser Island. Marine experts there are currently trying to prevent a pod of killer whales from beaching themselves in the shallows on the island’s western side.

Written by : Peter Needham

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