Wednesday, November 25, 2020, is a day Lesabato Tiren would rather forget.
It’s the day the 10-year-old boy had a brush with death after escaping from the jaws of a crocodile at Lake Baringo.
Tiren, who is recuperating at the Baringo County Hospital, says he is lucky to be alive.
“It was a normal day for me and my two friends Kemboi Lawaar and Betty Lowaar.
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“We had gone to fetch water from Lake Baringo,” said the Grade Two pupil at Meisori Primary School.
Narrating his ordeal from the hospital bed, Lesabato recalled how calm the lake was, apart from the waves splashing against the rocks on the shore.
“Just as I was bending to fill my five-litre jerrycan, the reptile grabbed my right hand,” he recalled.
The crocodile had already sunk its teeth in his tiny hand and started dragging him into the waters.
His two friends promptly responded by screaming and poking the crocodile with sticks in the nose and mouth.
“People heard our screams but by the time they got there, the crocodile loosened its grip on my hand and disappeared into the waters,” Lesabato said.
People rushed to the scene and evacuated the three to to Marigat sub-County hospital for treatment.
“Kemboi and Betty were not badly injured.
“They were treated at Marigat sub-County Hospital but Lesabato was transferred to the Baringo County Hospital the same evening because his injuries were bad,” said Tiren.
According to the Peter Lekeren, the Baringo Kenya Wildlife Service warden, the reptile grabbed Lesabato’s right hand and was dragging him into the lake when the other children reacted by screaming and attacking the reptile.
To combat the crocodile, the children started poking its nose with sticks as they tried to rescue their brother, Lekeren said.
“The crocodile attacked Lesabato on his arm and when Betty saw what was happening, she went to rescue him only to be attacked on the thigh.
“Kemboi also joined in and sustained minor injuries on her right hand,” he said.
Kemboi, 12, and Betty, 14, screamed and their act of poking the crocodile in the nose scared the reptile away.
“To get an animal with the strongest bite to let go of its prey is a miracle,” Lekeren added.
He noted that cases of human-wildlife conflicts are on the rise in the region.
Many people have been injured by crocodiles and hippopotamus when they are fishing in the lake that has swelled due to heavy rains in the region.
He revealed that since January, Baringo County has recorded 38 cases of human-wildlife conflict which have resulted in five deaths. “These deaths were mostly caused by snakes, crocodiles and hippopotamuses,” Lekeren said.
Charles Maswai, the medical officer in charge of Baringo County Hospital, said Lesabato was responding well to treatment and was in stable condition.
“When he was brought here, he was in a bad state, his right upper limb was also dislocated but he is recuperating well,” he added.
In April this year, the body of a 10-year old boy was retrieved from the jaws of a crocodile in the same lake after he went missing.
Local divers spotted the crocodile feasting on the decomposing body in the lake a few days after the boy went missing.
The body was found without the head and some internal organs.