Canberra, Australia – A woman who was jogging in the waves was led and attacked by a pack of dingoes in the latest clash between local dogs and humans on a popular Australian island, prompting new warnings Tuesday for adventurous visitors.
The 24-year-old woman was attacked by three or four Great Danes on Monday while jogging on a beach in Kagari, Queensland, the world’s largest sand island formerly known as Fraser Island, officials said.
The World Heritage-listed national park is home to some of Australia’s purest dingoes, also known by their native name Wungari, because local dogs have long been banned. Tourists returned to the island after the pandemic restrictions were lifted, and found that dingoes had become less wary of humans. This increases the risk to both species, said wildlife ranger Linda Birndorf.
Behrendorf said two passers-by saved the woman from dingoes after they chased her into the waves using the same hunting technique they would use on larger prey such as wallabies.
Queensland Ambulance Service said the victim was flown by helicopter to Hervey Bay Hospital on the mainland and was in stable condition with multiple injuries to her limbs and torso.
Behrendorf said park authorities are considering whether to destroy the dingo’s enclosure, which includes one that was cordoned off due to previous “high-risk behavior” toward humans.
Last month, a dingo became the first animal to be destroyed on the island since 2019 after it attacked a 7-year-old boy and buttocks a 42-year-old French tourist. Dingo is a protected species.
Visitors to the island are warned to beware of dingoes. Tourists are advised not to run or jog outside fenced areas, to keep children within reach, to walk with a stick, and to avoid providing food to the dingo. Dingoes mostly approach humans for food.
She said it would be safer without tourists needing to take selfies with wildlife to post on social media.
Behrendorf told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “They don’t understand the risks they’ve put themselves in and even that animal in.”
She cited the recent example of a man who posted a photo of himself feeding a dingo while a toddler was next to him.
“We spend most of our time trying to manage people. Dingoes will do what dingoes do. It’s easy to play dingo,” Berndorf said.
Darren Blake, a member of the Puchula Aboriginal Corp. that represents Kagari’s traditional owners, said visitors need to understand that dingoes are very different from local dogs.
“My heart goes out to the young woman, and I hope this one hits everyone else home,” Blake said, referring to the victim of Monday’s attack.
“They are not puppy dogs. They are wild predators. Give them that respect,” Blake added.
George Seymour, the mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, said there appeared to be more attacks on the island in the past two years than in the previous decade.
“Something different has happened in the last couple of years,” Seymour said, referring to the frequency of dingo interactions with people.
Seymour added that the change was “very unsettling because it’s so terrifying to be attacked by wildlife”.