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Australia culls dingoes amid public outcry

Australian newspapers
The dingo attack and subsequent cull are causing an emotional debate in Australia  

In this story:

Deluge of complaints

Mixed emotions

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BRISBANE, Australia (CNN) -- Despite a public uproar, the destruction of dingoes on Australia's Fraser Island is continuing following the death of a nine-year-old boy.

Following the child attack, Queensland state Premier Peter Beattie ordered a cull and rangers have shot five dingoes, which are normally protected in national parks.

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CNN's Kirsty Alfredson speaks to conservationist Jan Oliver who says the cull is causing a stir
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In State Parliament Thursday, where Beattie is due to face a censure motion, he defended his actions saying, "I know there is criticism of our decision to cull -- I would simply point out that a young boy has died".

"We take no pleasure from this but we have a duty of care to residents and visitors. This is the right thing to do".

The emotional debate turned political in parliament, as the state opposition claimed the government had not acted on a draft management plan for the national park island which warned of a dingo threat.

Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill joined the debate saying that the death was tragic, and that the culling was "illogical" as a risk assessment was yet to be undertaken by the state government.

Deluge of complaints

Jan Oliver from the Wildlife Preservation Society told CNN the dingo cull had caused a "massive stir".

"We're inundated, we can hardly put the phone down, we've got emails everywhere, letters to the editor, people are ringing up the premier all complaining about the cull.

"Some of the locals are saying there should be a cull but in fact they should be feeling very guilty because many of the locals on Fraser Island are the ones that were feeding the dingoes" she said.

There is an on-the-spot penalty for feeding dingoes.

Nine-year-old Clinton Gage died Monday after being attacked by two dingoes at Waddy Point, on the island. His seven-year-old brother, Dylan, survived the attack.

Oliver said "We've got this huge groundswell of complaint about the cull mixed with a great deal of sorrow for the family of the little boy that was killed".

Mixed emotions

dingo
Up to 20 dingoes will be killed  

Dingo attacks are not common in Australia, but the last fatal assault is etched into the national psyche and resulted in a courtroom saga, books and the movie "A Cry in the Dark" which starred Meryl Streep.

The case involving the disappearance of a 9-week-old baby girl attracted worldwide attention in the 1980's when Azaria Chamberlain, the daughter of Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, disappeared from a camp at Ayers Rock, Australia.

An inquest found that the child, whose body was never found, died after being attacked by a wild dingo. Lindy Chamberlain was found guilty of murder in 1982, however, the conviction was quashed six years later.



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Queensland Premier
Wildlife Preservation Society

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