A couple fishing off Queensland's K'gari say they're lucky to have escaped unscathed after a dingo set its sights on them amid a spate of recent attacks on the popular tourist island.
Jarryd and Lauren were on the beach digging up shellfish when a dingo charged at them. "After multiple lunges at us and stalking us for a few minutes, we were lucky enough that two four-wheel drive utes came racing down and started beeping and put themselves between us and the dingo," the pair wrote on Facebook. "We thought this was a one-off random event, but we were wrong."
Dingo harrasses beachgoers
After the dingo — which had a blue tag on its ear — left the couple alone, they claim it then started charging at random beach goers, "acting like a game of cat and mouse with people walking and fishing on the beach".
"It continued to charge and harass multiple groups of people as we watched from a distance to make sure anyone else who came into contact with the dingo was safe, and we would be there in our four-wheel drive if need be," Jarryd and Lauren explained, adding that it "eventually went over the dunes and ran off".
K'gari visitors warned
After visiting the island 22 times, the couple said it was their first bad experience with a dingo, also known as wongari, and now want to warn people of the danger when visiting K'gari. "We love the island but please be vigilant and stay safe," they begged. "This was a big wake up call for ourselves who became too complacent!"
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science urged the couple involved to report the incident to authorities as soon as possible. "Wongari interaction reports from the public are important as they provide information to rangers about potential high-risk animals," the spokesperson said.
"Rangers use the information to keep people safe by monitoring high-risk wongari and targeting specific areas to deliver 'Be Dingo-Safe!' messaging."
Dingoes changing their behaviour
Dr Edward Narayan, a senior lecturer in animal science at the University of Queensland says when it comes to dingo interactions, people "are the problem, unfortunately".
"Any interactions with humans would basically be something that's been initiated through years of tourism," Dr Narayan told Yahoo, explaining that visitors who've left food behind or those who've tried to hand feed dingoes may have caused them to approach humans.
How to stay safe from dingoes
Amid the growing number of encounters between humans and dingoes on K'gari, the Queensland Government has confirmed it will bring in more than a dozen extra rangers to enhance community safety on the island, while reminding visitors to follow simple safety measures at all times.
"Always stay close (within arm's reach) of children and young teenagers," a spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science told Yahoo. "Always carry a stick, always walk in groups, camp in fenced areas where possible, do not run, never feed dingoes, lock up food and iceboxes, never store food or foot containers in tents, and secure all rubbish, fish and bait."
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