A 4-year-old boy had his hand bitten off by a Komodo dragon on Saturday afternoon, local media have reported, with authorities from the Komodo National Park launching a probe into the incident while also stepping up security around the area.
The incident occurred in the fishing village located on Komodo Island called Komodo Village. The toddler, identified as F, was playing at the front steps of his home, which had a stage house design, without realizing that a komodo dragon was hiding right underneath.
According to a report from state news agency Antara, F was pulling a rope tied to a bottle, which initially attracted the dragon’s attention that it moved to bite the bottle and pull it away. This caused F to fall down from the steps, after which the reptile turned its attention to the toddler and tore off his hand.
Neighbors noticed the incident right away and came to the boy’s rescue before driving the komodo away from the village.
With the help of a police boat, F was immediately taken to a local hospital in Labuan Bajo to be treated for his wounds. Village secretary Ismail told Antara that F is still undergoing intensive treatment.
In a statement, authorities from the Komodo National Park confirmed the incident and say they will look into further details to acquire “accurate information.” Meanwhile, the Komodo dragon in question has been evacuated to Resort Loh Sebita on Komodo Island in order to avoid any other human-wildlife conflict.
“The Office of Komodo National Park will put up a safety fence in Komodo Village to minimize the potential of dangerous interaction from wildlife in the people’s daily activities,” the statement said.
At least 30 people have been bitten by Komodo dragons since 1974, with five of the victims dying, according to Komodo National Park authorities. One of the most recent reported attacks occurred in 2017, involving a Singaporean tourist who survived getting his leg chomped on by a Komodo dragon.
Recent research has found that the dragons’ jaws have highly sophisticated venom glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.