A young boy on Thursday was able to free himself from a crocodile attack, the latest in a string of such events in the region
The incident began around 5:50 p.m. local time in the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu. According to a report from The Star, a 7-year-old boy left his home near the water in the Kampung Air community in search of his pet chicken.
Around this point, the boy’s cousin noticed a crocodile swimming in the water near the home and tried to alert him to its presence. The boy then attempted to flee and get to safety, but the large reptile was nonetheless able to bite down on his right leg, according to Assistant Commander Rohan Shah Ahmad with the Lahad Datu District police.
In a statement released on Saturday concerning the incident, Ahmad said that the boy, whose name was not disclosed, was able to “kick free and escape” from the harrowing situation, getting away with his life, but suffering deep cuts on his leg and a fractured bone. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and is now in the process of recovering, Ahmad added.
While this latest incident did not end in tragedy, Ahmad said that it was part of a continuing trend of crocodile attacks in the region over the last two years. Between 2020 and 2022, according to The Star, there have been 12 attacks in the Lahad Datu District, eight of which were fatal. Ahmad said that authorities were aware of at least 28 crocodile nests in the district, with 13 being in the area where the latest young victim lives.
“All [this] information have been forwarded to the Wildlife officials, and I am sure they are also busy handling these cases,” Ahmad said.
Crocodile populations are prominent in countries and regions with a coast touching the Indian Ocean, including most of Southeast Asian, India, Northern Australia, and significant portions of Africa. Globally, crocodile and other crocodilian species attacks are known to cause roughly 1,000 deaths per year. Due to the protections afforded to them as endangered species, saltwater crocodile populations have grown and thrived in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, a manhunt was launched last week in the same region of Malaysia after a 1-year-old boy was eaten by an 11-foot crocodile in front of his father while he was fishing. The father attempted to fight off the reptile and save his child, but was unsuccessful and sustained severe injuries.
Newsweek attempted to reach Lahad Datu authorities for comment.