Girl Pulled from Crocodile’s Jaws in Myanmar

By Salai Thant Zin 1 July 2020

Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region — A nine-year-old girl survived a crocodile attack after her relatives snatched her from the reptile’s jaws in Bogale Township, Ayeyarwady Region, on Monday.

Ya Min Thu was bathing in the river near her house in Ywa Thit village when the crocodile tried to pull her into the water. Her father and grandparents managed to repel the creature.

Daw Than Win, the grandmother of Ma Ya Min Thu, told The Irrawaddy: “I was scared and shouted for help while I held her. Her father and grandfather came and beat the crocodile. Only then did it let go and went back into the water.”

The girl’s left arm was broken and her flesh was cut. She was treated at Bogale Township Hospital.

It was the first reported crocodile attack in the township this year.

“The girl suffered from serious wounds. Her arm was broken and the cuts are bad. We rushed her to the hospital,” said the administrator of Gramm village tract, U Thein Win.

According to a 2015 government survey, there are more than 110 crocodiles in Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary in Bogale Township.

Crocodiles have been suffering from food shortages due to deforestation and overfishing and have been forced to prey on humans and domestic animals, according to the Forest Department. It has erected warning signs about the dangers of crocodiles and imposed a curfew in Meinmahla Kyun.

The site where the girl was attacked. Kyaw Lin / Bogale

“While crocodiles are constructing nests during the early monsoon season, they are usually aggressive to people. Their habitats have been shrinking due to farming and they are forced to go closer to humans to search for food. Humans are not aware and are being attacked when they bathe and fish in the river,” said Ayeyarwady regional parliamentarian U San Min Aung of Bogale Township.

Crocodile attacks have been reported in Bogale since 2013 with only one attack per year.

Meinmahla Kyun was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1994. It covers around 14,000 hectares and hosts Myanmar’s largest crocodile population, mangroves, mudflats and turtle-nesting beaches.

It was added to the list of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2017, becoming the third Ramsar site in Myanmar. Moeyungyi Wildlife Sanctuary in Bago was added to the list in 2004, followed by Indawgyi Lake in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township in 2016.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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