Dingo cull ordered after boy's death
BRISBANE, Australia (CNN) - Officials in Australia say a cull of native dogs, called dingoes, will begin immediately following Monday's fatal attack on a nine-year-old boy at a popular holiday destination.
Announcing the move Queensland state premier Peter Beattie said the cull on Fraser Island, where the boy was killed, would be carried out "as humanely as possible and as quickly as possible".
Beattie told parliament he had ordered Queensland Parks and Wildlife officers to immediately begin a limited cull of dingoes found near camping grounds and the townships on the island.
There are about 160 dingoes on Fraser Island and about 350,000 across Australia.
Normally the native dog is shy of humans.
However, animal experts say constant contact with campers and holidaymakers -- many who have illegally fed the dogs -- has changed the behavior patterns of the Fraser Island dingoes, making them more aggressive to humans.
The dead boy, Clinton Gage, and his seven-year-old brother Dylan who survived, were attacked by just two dingoes. Unlike other dogs, the dingo does not hunt in packs.
Beattie said he had also ordered park rangers to crack down on anyone found feeding dingoes on Fraser Island.
Beattie said the immediate cull was a sensible response to Monday's tragedy. "As premier I have responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors in National Parks and to protect the wildlife in National Parks," he said.
Cull could cause more problems
However, the cull is certain to draw fire from animal lovers across Australia.
President of the Australian Dingo Conservation Association Barry Oakman said Wednesday the culling would break the natural family structure of the dingo, leading to worse problems down the track.
"If they are going to cull dingoes, they had better cull every dingo on the island," Oakman told the Australian newspaper.
"Dingoes might look like dogs, but they are not. They are wild animals and they act accordingly," he said.
Australia's most notorious dingo attack occurred in 1980 when Lindy and Michael Chamberlain's 10-week-old daughter Azaria was believed to have been taken by one of the dogs from the couple's campsite at Ayer's Rock (Uluru) in central Australia.
Lindy Chamberlain was accused and imprisoned for murdering the baby but later found not guilty on appeal, with a dingo attack found to be the most likely explanation for the child's disappearance.
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