Toddler airlifted to hospital after dingo attack on Australia's Fraser Island

The boy was flown to a hospital from Fraser Island off the eastern coast and is in stable condition. PHOTO: REUTERS/RACQ LIFEFLIGHT RESCUE

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - A two-year-old boy was airlifted to a hospital with bites to his head and body after a dingo attacked him on a popular Australian holiday island early on Saturday (April 17), rescue services said.

"It's believed the child, who was holidaying with his family, had been playing outside a house, when neighbours heard a commotion," RACQ LifeFlight Rescue said in a statement. "They reportedly went to investigate and saw a dingo attacking the toddler."

The boy, accompanied by his mother, was flown to a hospital from Fraser Island, off the eastern coast, and is in stable condition.

The dingo is a protected species on Fraser Island and is a popular attraction for camping tourists. The island's dingo population is estimated to be around 200, with packs of up to 30 roaming the island, according to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

In 1980, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappeared from a tent in a camping ground in Australia's outback, with her mother claiming she was taken by a dingo. The baby's body was never found, creating a mystery that captivated Australians for years and was made into a book and a film starring Meryl Streep and Sam Neill. Azaria's mother, Lindy, was jailed for three years over her daughter's death before later being cleared. A court ruled in 2012 that a dingo killed Azaria.

Dingoes, introduced to Australia about 4,000 years ago, are protected in Queensland state's national parks, World Heritage areas, Aboriginal reserves, and the Australian Capital Territory. Elsewhere, they are declared a pest species.

They hold a significant place in the spiritual and cultural practices of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Dingoes were introduced to Australia about 4,000 years ago. PHOTO: BOB TAMAYO

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.