A woman has narrowly escaped a terrifying attack on K’gari (formerly Fraser Island) after she was forced to fight off two dingoes armed with just her own water bottle.
The woman was standing alone on a beach near Happy Valley on Saturday when she felt a “nip” on her thigh, before she turned to see a collared a dingo circling her.
The dingo, also known as a wongari in the local language, lunged at her causing small abrasions.
A second collared dingo also began to circle the woman.
A Queensland Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said the woman yelled and swung her bottle, and tried to stay calm as four drivers came to her aid.
The woman was rushed back by one of the four drivers to Happy Valley, a tourist town on the far side of the island, before rangers provided safety information to visitors.
The spokesperson said rangers were closely monitoring the collared dingoes, and urged visitors and residents on the island, to remain vigilant of dingo attacks.
The attacks comes after a string of high profile incidents on the popular tourist island involving semiwild dingoes, including an attack on a 23-year-old woman in July.
The woman, who was jogging on Orchid Beach, was attacked by a pack of four dingoes who bit her about 30 times before she was rushed to hospital with “significant laceration”.
Earlier that same month, an eight-year-old boy was also bitten on his buttocks and lower back after he was approached by two dingoes while walking the beach with his family.
The attacks have further stirred debate about the increasing danger to tourists on the popular island, and what action could, or should, be taken to kerb dingo populations.
Dingoes have resided on the island for thousands of years where they are the apex predator and are estimated to number between 160-200 animals.
Advocacy group Save Fraser Island Dingoes has long campaigned to protect that population, and has instead urged visitors to the island to be “mindful” of the dingoes.
“Visitors need to be mindful that the dingoes have every right to be on the beach and sighting a group of animals should be considered a privilege,” they said.
The group has called for “sustainably managed” tourism on the island, with the possible imposition of visitor caps to balance visitation and nature conservation.
Detractors and some locally-based tourism operators meanwhile have called for a possible cull of dingo populations, including Fraser Island Accommodation.
Peter Endacott, who works with the operator, told 7 News the island’s dingo population should “perhaps” be halved in the wake of the recent increase in attacks.
For its part, QDES closed of Beach Camping Zones 3,4 and 5 at Poyungan to The Pinnacles until further notice due to the “increased threatening dingo activity”.
According to government guidelines, visitors are warned to never travel alone and to always bring a stick, as well as keep children in arms reach, avoid running, and camped in fenced areas.
Visitors are also advised to secure all food, rubbish, fish and bait and keep food in their tens to avoid attracting dingoes, who the agency said should never be fed.