Man rips leopard's tongue out

Nairobi - A 73-year-old man used his bare hands to tear out the tongue of a leopard that attacked him in Kenya and killed it, a newspaper said on Wednesday of an incident confirmed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The 73-year-old Daniel M'Mburugu was working in his potato garden near Mount Kenya in the centre of the country when the animal, apparently aggressive, hurtled from nearby grass and charged towards him.

"It let out a blood-curdling snarl that made the birds stop chirping. I froze for some seconds, then it dawned on me that death was staring at me on the face," he told the Standard Newspaper.

M'Mburugu, a peasant farmer, dropped the machete he was carrying and forced his hand into the leopard's mouth, pulling out its tongue in an act of self-defence, according to the report in the daily.

"A voice, which must have been from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand into its wide open mouth, I obeyed," he said, explaining that the leopard sank its teeth into his wrist, but would not let go.

As the struggle continued, M'Mburugu realised the animal's "breathing was belaboured", prompting him to keep pulling the tongue.

Villagers only responded when the animal lay dying and he gained instant status as a village hero, the paper said.

"Wardens said the leopard attacked the man because it was injured elsewhere. Wild animals are usually very aggressive and attack unprovoked when injured," said KWS spokesperson Edward Indakwa.

"Nevertheless, he was lucky," he added of the incident that occurred early this month.

Incidents of human-wildlife conflict in the east African nation are common, mostly near game parks and national reserves.

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