Hippo bite: St Lucia man loses leg

2012-07-14 00:00

AN Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife mechanic, Anthony Swatton, had his leg amputated after a bull hippo gored him in his back yard in St Lucia, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park said yesterday.

Swatton was still in a serious but stable condition, spokesperson Siyabonga Mhlongo added last night.

Swatton was confronted by the large bull hippo when he went outside on Thursday night to see why his dog was barking.

“Evidently surprised and cornered by the commotion, the animal bit and grabbed Swatton by his lower left leg, flinging him aside, and a tusk pierced his abdomen,” Mhlongo said.

“It then moved off into the garden where it continued grazing as neighbours and doctors were called for assistance.”

Swatton underwent surgery on the same night and was in intensive care yesterday.

Park authorities on Thursday night monitored the hippo as it entered several other properties and observed no undue aggression or unusual behaviour.

Mhlongo said it did not seem to be injured, but Ezemvelo would continue to monitor the hippo and then decide whether to relocate it.

Terri Castis of iSimangaliso Wetland Park warned that hippo grazing on St Lucia’s street verges and gardens was a regular feature of the wetlands and warned people to bear in mind that they weredangerous, especially if threatened or cornered.

Swatton’s family did not want to speak to the media.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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