Thursday, 24 March 2011

Is the bell tolling for dingoes?

This week the UK's Independent newspaper wades into the dingo debate...

Ten years ago, and nearly two decades after the infamous Lindy Chamberlain case, a boy of nine was killed by two dingoes on an island in Queensland – grim proof that Australia's native dogs do attack children. The fatal mauling of Clinton Gage, at the popular tourist destination of Fraser Island, caused national outrage and silenced those who had scorned Ms Chamberlain's claim that a dingo had snatched her baby daughter, Azaria, as they camped out at Uluru in 1980. The Queensland government took drastic steps to protect visitors, culling dozens of animals on Fraser and fencing off resorts and camping grounds.

Now critics say the clampdown has gone too far and that Fraser Island's dingoes, accustomed to scavenging in rubbish tips, are dying of starvation. Some conservationists are even warning that the animals could go the way of the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, which was hunted into oblivion in the 1930s after being blamed for livestock deaths.

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