Thursday December 15, 2011
Gibbon rips toddler’s thigh
By R.S.N. MURALI
MALACCA: An angry gibbon charged at a group of visitors at the zoo here and snatched a three-year-old boy from his father's arms before biting off part of the screaming boy's thigh.
Little Muhammad Afiq Haziq was violently attacked and had a chunk of flesh ripped off from his right thigh after the 15kg alpha male primate climbed down a tree and attacked the toddler.
The gibbon had earlier bitten another young visitor, five-year-old Zukrina Abdul Hadi, on her left ankle.
The girl received outpatient treatment at Malacca Hospital while doctors are attempting to save Muhammad Afiq's leg from being amputated.
He is said to be in a critical condition.
The boy also suffered facial and bodily injuries in the ferocious attack that occurred at about 2.30pm on Tuesday.
Many families were spending the school holidays with their children at the zoo.
“I fear my son will be scarred and traumatised for life,” said the victim's 36-year-old mother Anita Sulaiman yesterday.
“He has lost a lot of blood,” she sobbed,
Anita said the family, from Klang in Selangor, had arrived at the zoo at about 1.30pm.
Her husband Kamarul Baharin, 38, held the boy while she took care of their 18-month-old daughter.
They were relaxing at an aviary park when they heard people screaming and saw the gibbon charging at the visitors.
In the commotion, Anita held on tight to her little girl.
“When I looked back, I saw my husband grappling with the gibbon.
“A visitor came to his aid and hit the gibbon, forcing it to release the child.
“My husband carried Muhammad Afiq and ran two kilometres to get medication, while I followed with the bits of his thigh in a plastic bag.”
Zoo authorities then rushed the child to hospital.
Asked if she saw any visitor provoking the ape, she said: “It appeared all of a sudden. I don't know why it went for my son.”
Malacca Zoo public relations officer Masri Mohd Arof extended the zoo's apology to the family, adding that the animal had been caught and quarantined.
“We will get animal biologists from Kuala Lumpur to probe the attack.
“We will also investigate how the gibbon crossed over to the park from its colony on a man-made island.
“Gibbons usually will not attack unless provoked,” he added.