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Australian infant attacked by dingoes

26 april 2011, 13:26
Australian dingo. Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
Australian dingo. Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
A three-year-old girl was savaged by dingoes after wandering into bushes on a popular Australian tourist island, AFP reports citing witnesses.

The toddler suffered bite wounds to her legs after she was set upon by two of the native wild dogs at a beach on Queensland's heritage-listed Fraser Island on Monday afternoon.

"They obviously saw her go into the bushes and were opportunistic and made a beeline for her," said witness David Law.

"It's breeding season and they can be quite territorial," he added.

"They basically had her on the ground for about five to 10 seconds."

"She was quite traumatised."

Park rangers said they had captured and destroyed one of the dingoes, a three-year-old that was considered extremely large for its age, and the second animal had also been caught.

"The dingoes were out of sight in nearby bushes and when the child was away from the adults (they) came in and attacked the child," said Terry Harper, head of the Queensland environment department.

"They managed to bite her several times on both legs before the adults nearby managed to scare the dingoes off," he told ABC radio.

The infant was recovering in hospital.

Native to Australia, dingos came under the spotlight with the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain at Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in 1980 for which her mother Lindy was convicted of murder and her father, Michael, of being an accessory.

The couple claimed Azaria, just nine weeks old, was taken by wild dogs in the heart of Australia's desert Outback. Her body was never found.

Their convictions were overturned in 1988 after the chance find of a piece of Azaria's clothing near a dingo lair, but a subsequent inquest recorded an open finding, prompting the pair to request a new inquiry be launched last year.

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