A hippopotamus bit a Taiwanese tourist in the chest, killing him as he was trying to photograph it in Kenya.
Chang Ming Chuang, 66, was following the animal at a resort on Lake Naivasha, located 56 miles northwest of the capital, Nairobi, the BBC reported. Another Taiwanese tourist was injured in the incident.
Six people have been killed by hippos in Kenya in 2018.
Local reports, including one from The Star of Kenya, said the tourist was from China. The BBC reported that Taiwan’s foreign ministry confirmed the tourists were Taiwanese.
“KWS is sad to announce the death of a tourist who was attacked yesterday evening. His colleague survived with minor bruises and was treated at Naivasha District Hospital. We are tracking the hippo,” the Kenya Wildlife Service wrote in a tweet.
Witness James Omollo said the tourist got too close to the animal, which turned against him before biting him, according to The Star. “He was rushed to Naivasha Subcounty Hospital bleeding profusely, but he passed on while undergoing treatment,” he said.
Chairman of Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association David Kilo said that the rise in water levels has contributed to a spike in hippo attacks. It forces the hippos to stay away from the water.
The hippo that attacked the tourist was “looking for pasture near the hotel. This is not the first time,” he said.
Hippos can weigh as much as three tons, and they kill an estimated 500 people every year in Africa.
Kilo also told The Star that an illegal fisherman was attacked by a hippo several miles from where the tourist was killed. He died at the scene of the attack.
“The man was also bitten on the chest. He died minutes after he was retrieved from the lake,” he said.
“We have seen a rise in cases of human-wildlife conflict around the lake and this is mainly due to the encroachment on the riparian land,” he said.
“Hundreds of hippos are shot each year to minimize human-wildlife conflict, despite the fact that ditches or low fences easily deter hippos. It is more likely that the popularity of hippo meat is the reason for this strategy. Hippo fat and ivory tusks are also valuable to humans,” according to the African Wildlife Foundation conservation group.
“As human populations grow, they encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads. The hippo once ranged from the Nile Delta to the Cape, but now it is mostly confined to protected areas,” it added.
Kenya earned $1.2 billion from tourism in 2017, with 1.4 million tourists arriving in the country, according to the BBC.