Dingoes Attack Child, 3, on Australia's Fraser Island

Two dingoes killed after mauling a child on Australia's Fraser Island

ByABC News
April 26, 2011, 4:27 PM

April 26, 2011— -- Australian rangers found and killed two dingoes believed to have mauled a three-year-old girl as her family was preparing to board a ferry following a camping trip on Australia's Fraser Island.

The dingoes, wild dogs native to Australia, attacked the girl and dragged her by the legs Monday after she wandered away from her family and into the sand dunes on the island in northeastern Queensland.

Witnesses watched as the dogs attacked the little girl, yelling for the child's parents and for the dogs to scatter, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I was running and yelling and screaming and pointing at these people behind the dune," witness David Law told the network. "I finally got their attention and pointed behind, and one of the men ran over the dune, and scared the dog off the little girl."

The family has not been identified. The two dogs were reported found and destroyed.

Some 200 dingoes are believed to live on Fraser Island, a national park and popular camping destination near the Australian city of Brisbane. The island is home to one of the last groups of purebred dingoes, which are a protected species under Australian law.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management warned visitors to Fraser earlier this month to be wary of mating dingoes, particularly this week during the Easter school holiday.

"Be dingo-safe!" says the department on its website. "Always stay very close (within arm's reach) to your children -- even small teenagers."

Dingo mating season lasts from April to June.

A 9-year-old boy was killed by dingoes on Fraser Island in 2001. As a result, more than a dozen dogs were killed in a government cull and a campaign was launched to warn visitors of the danger posed by the animals.

For many this recent attack is reminiscent of the most famous dingo attack in Australian history. In 1980, Lindy Chamberlain reported seeing her baby carried off by a dingo near Uluru, or Ayers Rock, while on a camping trip.

Chamberlain was initially convicted of murder, but was later exonerated when new evidence supported her claim of a dog attack. In 1988 she was portrayed by Meryl Streep in a film, "A Cry in the Dark."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.