This specific dingo did not eat any babies
Political correctness rules our lives and while I’m all for equal opportunity, why not extend it to some of the creatures that share our great country?
Why is it considered acceptable for one or two species to regularly claim human lives, while another is hunted down and killed in retribution? Or a whole colony culled, after what might be little more than a nip?
If you are unlucky enough to be eaten or bitten in the sea, you are intruding, you knowingly took the risk and the chances are very high that the protected predator responsible will be allowed to swim off in search of its next feed.
Then we have the other situation, where if a human is attacked even through negligence or stupidity, revenge is swift and permanent.
Shoot the dingo and its mate, try to keep the rest behind electric fences, consider the possibility of another cull … but aren’t we intruding on their territory too?
The answer is obviously yes. This lopsided set of values and predjudicial judgement against Australia’s own version of the wolf reared its head again this week when a toddler was nipped on Fraser Island.
According to eye witnesses, the little girl had been allowed to wander unaccompanied into the dunes. The two dingoes responsible were captured and shot, bringing the number destroyed this year to five.
Dingo expert Dr Ian Gunn, from Monash University, has called for an immediate review of the dingo management strategy on the island. He said the attacks would be a recurring problem because there were more tourists visiting the island. Parents should supervise children more closely.The Save Fraser Island Dingoes group had previously complained about the dingoes starving, calling for them to be fed and for the “euthanasia” of some animals to end.
But Department of Environment and Resource Management marine general manager Terry Harper denied natural food supplies were dwindling on the island, or that the dingoes were starving.
The latest attack came 10 years after the fatal mauling of a nine year old boy, Clinton Gage, which prompted the culling of more than two dozen Fraser Island dingoes and an overhaul of conservation practices, including warnings about human interaction with the animals.
The boy’s death was also a reality check for many who had not accepted a young mother’s anguished cry many years before:
A dingo’s taken my baby…
That was in 1980, when Lindy Chamberlain reported seeing a dingo carry her infant daughter, Azaria, away from a tent during a camping trip to Uluru, in Australia’s central desert. Ms Chamberlain was tried and convicted for murder before a series of appeals and judicial inquiries exonerated her and found the dingo claims to be true. Azaria’s body was never found and the story was later told in the film A Cry In The Dark, which earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination.
But those are the only two known fatalities inflicted by dingoes on humans in recent times. Should the Fraser Island dingoes, probably the last remaining pure strain of our native dog and now numbering only about 200, be further penalised because they happen to occupy a beautiful wilderness island?
Why should they pay such a high price when there have been seven known shark fatalities in Australian waters since 2005, with no serious suggestion of shark culling by anyone in authority as a result?
Photographer Jennifer Parkhurst last year was fined $40,000 and banned from the island after being convicted of charges related to feeding some dingoes. The prosecution had expected a $5,000 penalty.
Meanwhile it is apparently acceptable for charter boat operators to openly attract and excite great white sharks by pouring buckets of burley and blood into the water off some southern coastal communities. Killer sharks, white pointers in particular, seem to have a great team of spin doctors handling their defence. They mistook you for a seal, they did not really mean to bite you in half or rip your leg off, which must be a great consolation.
And what makes great whites, the most efficient killer, so special? Their numbers reportedly are increasing rapidly, especially in Australian waters. It’s all a case of balance and now they have no predators. They were once mainly confined to colder southern areas, but now follow the annual whale migrations up the east coast. Sightings along the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland beaches are no longer a rarity, so if a few happen to end up in Gold Coast shark nets or even the drum lines off my local beach, I for one will not be shedding a crocodile tear as I wait for a wave.
It’s more than three decades since Peter Benchley’s novel and the subsequent movie, Jaws, with typical Hollywood overkill, sent terrified bathers scrambling from the surf.
But did you know the saga of the great white with a taste for human flesh was inspired by actual events off New Jersey beaches during a summer heatwave in 1916?
In the space of 12 days, five people were attacked by what was thought to have been a great white. Only one survived to tell the tale…
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