Parents are being warned to protect their children against potential dingo attacks as the native Australian animal moves closer to more populated areas.
Dingo researcher Dr Brad Purcell said reports of dingoes coming into areas such as Coffs Harbour and the Blue Mountains looking for food was on the rise, the ABC reports.
It’s believed the smell of pet dogs and the lack of food in drought-stricken rural areas was prompting dingoes to move towards more inhabited places.
Residents and visitors to the West Australian town of Exmouth have reported dingo sightings in recent days, in unlikely places such as skate parks.
According to Dr Purcell, dingoes have been reported following children on bikes and approaching one woman taking her child out in a pram.
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“We’ve seen children die, children be attacked and mauled on Fraser Island and even other areas,” Dr Purcell told the ABC.
“It’s not common but it’s normally associated with with dingoes [that have become used to being around humans].”
While authorities normally try to trap or shoot dingoes that come too close to populated areas, Dr Purcell advised parents to talk to their children about the risks that dingoes can pose, especially when out walking with pet dogs.
“Carry a sharp stick or something noisy to scare them away,” he said.
“They might be able to carry with them a tin that’s full of coins and when the dingo approaches they can shake that and hopefully scare the dingoes away.”