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Dingoes maul girl on tourist beach

Two dingoes that mauled a three-year-old girl on an Australian beach have been caught and will be destroyed, authorities have said.

The girl was bitten on the legs when the native wild dogs attacked her after she wandered away from her family and into sand dunes on Fraser Island in north-eastern Queensland state.

Environment Department general manager Terry Harper said the two dogs blamed for the attack were trapped and would be put down.

More than 200 dingoes live on Fraser Island, a popular tourist spot about 155 miles north of the state capital Brisbane.

Fraser Island is thought to be among the last refuges for pure-bred dingoes, and they are a protected species in the national park that covers the island. Dingoes are also protected in some other parts of the country, though in many places dingoes that have cross-bred with feral dogs are killed as pests that attack sheep and cattle.

Attacks on humans are relatively rare, though visitors to Fraser Island are warned not to feed the dingoes and to leave the animals alone.

"This is a very timely reminder for everybody about how important it is to stay very close to your children on Fraser Island," Mr Harper said. "Adults should always stay very close to their children. We know that they do excite dingoes."

A nine-year-old boy was killed by dingoes on Fraser Island in 2001, prompting the culling of more than two dozen dogs and an overhaul of conservation practices, including warnings about human interaction with the animals.

The most famous dingo attack in Australia was in 1980, when Lindy Chamberlain reported seeing a dog carry her infant daughter, Azaria, away from a tent during a camping trip to Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in Australia's central desert.

Ms Chamberlain was tried 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. The story was made into the 1988 film A Cry In The Dark, which earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination.

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