LABUAN BAJO, Indonesia: The Singaporean man who was attacked by a komodo dragon in Indonesia is in stable condition, local police said on Thursday (May 4).
Singaporean Loh Lee Aik, 67, was rushed to hospital with leg injuries after being pounced on as he tried to photograph the giant creatures feasting on a goat.
Loh had been staying at a village on Komodo island before setting off in search of the lizards Wednesday.
But he failed to take a park ranger with him, something all visitors to the islands are advised to do.
“He was probably very excited taking pictures of the komodo, he didn’t realise another komodo was approaching him and then he was bitten,” local police spokesman Jules Abraham Abast told AFP.
“Luckily it was a small komodo that bit him.”
He was given first aid at the site before being taken by boat to nearby Flores island, where he was admitted to hospital. Abast and the hospital said he was in a stable condition.
The attack happened during the Komodo mating season, which runs from May to August and is a time when the lizards are more aggressive.
Abast said Loh had failed to report his visit to authorities and urged visitors to do so in future to avoid such incidents.
It was the first time since 1974 that one of the creatures had attacked a foreign tourist, said Sudiyono, head of the Komodo National Park.
Thirty people have been bitten by komodo dragons since 1974, with five of the victims dying, according to national park authorities.
Recent research has found that the dragons’ jaws have highly sophisticated venom glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.
The lizards are native to several Indonesian islands, and are considered a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand left in the world.
They can grow up to three metres (10 feet) long and weigh up to 70 kilogrammes (154 pounds).