A two-year-old boy who was partially swallowed alive by a hippopotamus is recovering after a man stoned the animal to set the boy free, police in Africa said.
According to the Uganda Police Force, the attack took place Dec. 4 in Western Uganda about half a mile from Lake Edward in the Kasese District.
The boy, identified by police as Paul Iga, was playing near his home when he was grabbed by the amphibious animal, which then swallowed half the child’s body, police said in a news release.
Police said a bystander watched the attack take place and threw stones at the hippo in an attempt to stop the attack.
“It took the bravery of one Chrispas Bagonza, who was nearby, to save the victim after he stoned the hippo and scared it, causing it to release the victim from its mouth,” police said.
The boy was taken to hospital for treatment, police said, where he was vaccinated for rabies as a precaution, and released back to his parents.
Police said this was the first incident where a hippo strayed out of the Lake Edward and attacked a young child.
“Although the hippo was scared back into the lake, all residents near animal sanctuaries and habitats, should know that wild animals are very dangerous,” police continued in the release. “Instinctually, wild animals see humans as a threat and any interaction can cause them to act strangely or aggressively.”