21 Jan 2019

Dingoes attack young boy on Australia's Fraser Island

7:18 pm on 21 January 2019

A young boy has been attacked by a group of dingoes on Australia's popular tourist spot of Fraser Island.

An Australian dingo

The dingoes on Fraser Island, where the boy was attacked, are more curious and less wary than mainland dingoes. Photo: Charlotte Mills/UNSW

One of the wild dogs bit the 6-year old at a beach after he'd been swimming with his parents.

He was airlifted to a nearby hospital and is in a stable condition.

Australia's dingoes are protected in some national parks but there have been rare instances where they have attacked people.

"The family had finished swimming when the young boy said he wanted to race up a sand dune," Dan Leggat of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Lifeflight rescue told local media.

"Unfortunately, when he got to the top, there was a pack of four dingoes. One of the dingoes attacked the boy and bit him on the leg."

Fraser Island, a World Heritage site, is the world's largest sand island and situated off the southern coast of Queensland.

It is home to what is regarded the purest dingo population in Australia and there are thought to be around 200 of the animals on the island.

The Fraser Island dingoes are more curious and less wary than mainland dingoes, and authorities warn visitors not to feed them and to walk in groups.

In 2001, a nine-year-old boy was killed and his seven-year-old brother injured after being attacked by several dingoes on the island.

Dingoes were also at the centre of one of Australia's most controversial trials, when Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of 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 Uluru, then known as Ayers Rock.

Dingoes were first introduced into Australia some 3000 to 4000 years ago and are thought to be descended from a domestic dog brought in from Indonesia.