An upsetting news story out of Australia has local officials warning mothers to do something they know innately: Keep a close eye on your toddler when in roam. Especially if you're vacationing on Fraser Island, a national park some 155 miles north of Brisbane. Otherwise, your child could get mauled by ... a dingo, or a wild dog that's native Down Under. You see, the expression "A dingo ate my baby!" isn't a joke after all.
A 3-year-old was attacked yesterday when she wandered away from her family into some sand dunes on Fraser Island, and dingoes pinned the screaming child down, taking several bites out of her legs before they were chased off by passersby. As a result, two dingoes were hunted down Tuesday and killed. Supposedly they were "put down humanely," according to local environmental officials.
Completely horrific, I know.
My first thought here is where the heck were this little girl's parents? How did she just happen to "wander away" so far that she was able to get attacked like this? If she was far away enough that she was out of their eyesight and "in some sand dunes" long enough for this to happen, well, that seems too far away and too long for comfort, right? I hate to point the finger at the parents at all, because they must feel awful. Although a quote given by the father, David Kennedy, is a bit dismissive: "Understandably she's not particularly happy with all that's gone on, but she's only three years of age." (Uh, "not particularly happy"? She was MAULED by wild animals, Pops!) So, I do think it's worth at least questioning how much blame the parents should shoulder for this incident.
But at the same time, apparently these dingoes are especially excitable right now, because it's breeding season, and they get territorial. And the dingoes who attacked the little girl were the fourth and fifth to be put down this year after a number of "fairly serious or concerning instances."
Sure, they're wild animals, and I get that the Australian government is doing what they can to control them, but maybe it isn't enough. Maybe they can't have their cake (lots of tourism on Fraser Island) and eat it too (let dingoes just do their thang)? However, I'm not sure what the alternative for the dingoes would be. The island is one of the last refuges for pure-breds. But all over Australia, they've been cross-bred with feral dogs and are considered pests.
Thankfully, dingo attacks are rare. But that doesn't make them any less disturbing. And you know ... I gotta say, sorry, Australian tourism, but this news doesn't exactly make me want to bring my kid to Fraser Island at any point in my lifetime.
Do you think the parents were at fault here and/or should Australia do more to control the wild dingoes?
Image via Brian Giesen/Flickr