A 38kg male gibbon snatched a toddler from his father's arms and bit off part of his right thigh in Malacca Zoo, a southern state in West Malaysia. This was the second attack by the gibbon. Earlier it had bitten a 5-year-old girl on her left ankle. The girl had received outpatient treatment while 3-year-old, Muhammad Afiq Haziq, is hospitalized due to severe injuries. The boy underwent a three hour surgery at Malacca Hospital and is reported to be in a critical condition. He also sustained injuries on his face and other parts of his body in the attack.
What is surprising is that before the attacks, the gibbon seemed to be 'friendly' and was even patted by some visitors (which is stupidity nonetheless). All of a sudden, the gibbon turned ferocious. According to zoo officials, gibbons will only attack if provoked. According to Muhammad's mother, who witnessed the whole incident helplessly, she saw her husband grappling with the gibbon which refused to let go of the boy until it was hit by another visitor to the zoo.
What or who had provoked the gibbon? The bigger question is how did the gibbon escape from its enclosure and cross over to the park? Why was no action taken until the serious attack?
This is what happens when wild animals are kept in zoos. They belong to the wild not in enclosures. People who visit zoos are taking risks as well. If it is a risk they are willing to take, then they have to accept whatever good or bad that they encounter. The animals cannot be held accountable.
The gibbon, 5 to 10 years of age has been captured and quarantined. Animal biologists from Kuala Lumpur have been called to probe the attack. The siamang is a tailless, black-furred gibbon native to forests in Malaysia and Indonesia's Sumatra province. Gibbons belong to the ape family.
Hopefully Muhammad Afiq has a quick recovery. It must be terribly traumatic for the child.