A 6-year-old boy was rushed to a hospital Saturday after being attacked by a dingo, a native wild dog, in Australia’s Queensland.
The boy was camping with his family on Fraser Island, off the eastern Queensland coast, and had finished swimming when he was set upon by a pack of dingoes, according to RACQ LifeFlight Rescue.
“The family had finished swimming when the young boy said he wanted to race up a sand dune,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue aircrewman, Dan Leggat said in a statement. “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,” he said.
Paramedics found the boy with multiple puncture wounds to his leg, CNN affiliate Nine News reported. He was flown to a Harvey Bay hospital for treatment and remains in a stable condition.
Following the attack, rangers warned tourists and those camping on the popular holiday island not to get too close to the wild dogs.
“I think it’s a reminder we are in a wild environment, and Fraser Island is just one of those places,” Garie Beachcamp Retreat owner Hana Robinson told Nine News.
Labor Minister Mark Bailey said he would launch an investigation into the incident.
The dingo is a protected species in Queensland’s national parks and is usually shy of humans.
However, animal experts say constant contact with campers and holidaymakers – many who have illegally fed the dogs – has changed the behavior patterns of the Fraser Island dingoes over the years, making them more aggressive to humans.
In 2001, Queensland ordered a cull of the dogs on the island after a 9-year-old boy was killed in a dingo attack.
Australia’s most notorious dingo attack occurred in 1980 when Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s 2-month-old daughter Azaria was believed to have been taken by one of the dogs from the couple’s campsite at Ayer’s Rock (Uluru) in central Australia.
Lindy Chamberlain was accused and imprisoned for allegedly murdering the baby but was later found not guilty on appeal. In 2012, a coroner ruled that a dingo caused the death of a baby more than 30 years ago.