A 28-year-old man has been killed by a Crocodile in Karonga District in northern Malawi. Hussein Zibeli was apparently attempting to swim out to a boat where some friends were fishing, when he was seized by the animal and dragged under at about 8 pm local time on Thursday 30 November 2017. His body was later recovered, and an autopsy revealed he had died of a mixture of drowning and blood-loss. This is fairly typical of Crocodile attacks, with prey typically dragged under the water and drowned, but often not eaten immediately. This is at least the fifth Crocodile-related death in Malawi this year.
Wounds on the body of Hussein Zibeli, who was killed by a Crocodile on 30 November 2017. Nyasa Times.
Lake Malawi is home to a large population of Nile Crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus. These are large animals, reaching about five meters in length, and are ambush predators capable of taking large prey, including, on occasion, Humans. The animals are thought to be at their most dangerous around in the dry season (December to March in Malawi), when the water is lowest, and females are guarding eggs buried in nests by the river.
A Nile Crocodile on Lake Malawi. Birding for Pleasure.
Nile Crocodiles are considered to be of Least Concern under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, but are still protected in many countries, including Malawi, due to historic hunting which decimated populations in many areas. However, the rising number of attacks on Humans, which is thought to have been driven by rapidly rising populations of both Humans and Crocodiles, combined with a sharp decline in the numbers of many natural prey species, has led to calls for regulated hunting to be introduced to control the population.
The approximate location of the 30 November 2017 Malawi Crocodile attack. Google Maps.
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