With the recent news that a toddler has been attacked on Fraser Island, a lot of discussion has been occurring about how to deal with the “Tourist Problem” that Fraser Island has. Namely, tourists infringing on local habitats, feeding the wildlife, and taunting and in some cases abusing the wildlife, including dingoes.
Over the years there have been a number of issues with people abusing the wildlife on Fraser Island, one of the more notable ones being the “Turtle Surfing” incident where back in 2016, Gold Coast Man Ricky Rogers was photographed “Surfing” on a Turtle on the iconic island.
But the big discussion point here is not the reckless conduct of humans around the animals on Fraser Island, but the proximity and tenacity of the local wildlife, including the dingoes. To that point, this Wikipedia Article lists a number of Dingo attacks on Fraser Island in the last few years.
|Boy, 14 months old||18th of April 2019||It was alleged that a Dingo entered a family’s camper trailer under its canvas and then dragged the child out while the family was asleep. The screams of the child alerted the father, who gave chase, rescued the child and also scared off a number of other dingos. The child was airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital with deep lacerations to the back of the neck and head, he also suffered a fractured skull.|
|Boy, 9, and woman, 24||28 February 2019||A 9 year old boy was returning to his campsite from an afternoon swim with his family when they were approached by 2 dingoes and were attacked by them. He suffered serious injuries, including lacerations to his arms, legs and suffered a bite mark to his face. The same dingoes also attacked his 24 year old mother as she tried to protect him, causing “deep injuries” to her arms and legs. Both were airlifted to Sunshine Coast University Hospital.|
|6-year-old boy||19 January 2019||A female dingo and her 3 sub-adult offspring attacked the boy when he ran up a sand dune near the Govi Camping Ground, south of Eurong. He was airlifted to hospital and treated for puncture wounds and scratches to his legs.|
|2 unnamed females in 20s or 30s||26 October 2014||Two Australian women bitten while jogging, one of the women was hospitalised|
|25-year-old male||August 2014||The male was walking on the beach alone at night, outside the fenced township when he was set upon by 3 dingoes. He managed to fend off the three dingoes while a fourth one apparently approached but ran away. He was taken to Hervey Bay Hospital suffering numerous bites and scratches.|
|A family, other unnamed tourists||November 2012||A six-month-old dingo was killed by rangers on Fraser Island after continued aggressive and dangerous behaviour towards people. The dangerous behaviour included “lunging” at a family, coming out of the bushland at high speed towards volleyball players, and grabbing two tourists on separate occasions with his mouth, not breaking the skin on either occasion. Rangers attempted to trap the dangerous dingo for a month before they were successful. The captured animal was then euthanised. One dingo advocacy group argued that, as a juvenile, the dingo’s aggressive behaviours would be considered normal for his young age. Soon after the dingo’s brother was killed by rangers, although documented incidents for this dog never reached the serious Code E level his brother’s had.|
|Unnamed 23-year-old male||28 July 2012||German tourist, hospitalised, serious injuries to head, legs and arms.|
|3-year old unnamed female||26 April 2011||A three-year-old girl was attacked on Fraser Island by two dingoes. She suffered serious puncture wounds to her leg.|
|Unnamed 4-year-old female||April 2007||Young girl severely bitten.|
|3-year-old Norwegian girl||April 1998||Bitten and scratched by a dingo.|
As you can see above, there has been a fairly inconsistent range of attacks by dingoes on members of the public for a fairly long time, most can be considered as “opportunistic” attacks, or simply circumstantial, that is, up until 2019.
With the last dingo attack before 2019 being in 2014, and then to have 3 dingo attacks in 2019 shows that something on the island has changed. Could this be increased Tourist Numbers as the island becomes more popular? Could this be due to a decreased fear by tourists of the Dingoes? Or could this be due to the animals simply becoming more bold?
Now it’s not like there aren’t deterrents to feeding the dingoes and interfering with them, with fines up to $10,000 AUD for feeding the dingoes on the island, it seems that a lot of tourists don’t seem to listen to the warnings. Whilst data on how many tourists have been fined, the number has been described by a few media outlets as “High” and a number of the people fined being described as “Reckless”
However this comes down to how Fraser Island Authorities may actually cull the numbers of tourists to go onto the island, with that being one possible option currently being debated. The other is a large scale dingo cull on the island, with Fraser being one of the few places in Australia where the Dingoes are essentially purebred (With mainland dingoes being interbred with domestic dogs since European Colonisation)
However the days of a “Fraser Trip” being the rite of passage for an outdoorsy 4WD owner in Australia may be coming to a close thanks to the infringement on the local wildlife, with a few options being on the table to reduce the risks to people.
Reduction of tourist numbers may be the way to go here, but we are leaving the comments below open for you to voice your opinion on the matter, we’d love to know, what do you think would be the solution?