‘Wolf’ Attacks Villagers, Gets Eaten

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The animal killed and eaten by villagers in Kampong Chhnang after it bit four people. Locals referred to the creature as a “wolf”, and a wildlife expert has said it may either be a common jackal or a dhole, which is much more rare. Photo taken Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Supplied.

Four Kampong Chhnang residents were bitten this week by a wild animal they are calling a “wolf,” and which they say they have now cooked and eaten.

Yot Saem said she had just gone out to her farm on Tuesday when she was attacked by what at first she thought was just a dog.

“But I had never seen that [animal] before. I confused it with a dog, but [I’m told] it was a chkae chachak,” she said, using a Khmer word for “wolf.” It bit her arm and leg, she said.

Nick Marx, director for wildlife rescue at Wildlife Alliance, said based on photos provided by residents, the animal appeared to be a jackal.

“The photo is poor, but from what you say the villagers called it — chkai chachak — and from likelihood, it was probably a jackal, although it could have been a dhole,” he said. The dhole, or Asiatic wild dog, is one of Cambodia’s largest remaining carnivores and classified as “rare.”

“I would add that neither of these species would attack a human if left unmolested, preferring to run away. As usually happens when wild animals enter villages, I am sure the people first attacked the jackal or dhole, which unsuccessfully tried to defend itself before they killed it,” Marx said.

Khun Rang commune police chief Tim Sophat, in Kampong Chhang’s Boribor district, said a resident’s ducks were the first victims, getting attacked around 6 a.m. Tuesday. When that resident chased the animal away, it ran into Snao village.

There four villagers were attacked, either at home, waiting for a pickup to go work at a factory, or going out to their farm.

“It bit one person and he shouted, and then it ran to bite another person,” Sophat said.

Villagers fought the animal until it was killed, and the bitten residents were sent for rabies shots, he said. The animals were known to live in the area but rarely came near people. It was the first attack, he said.

“We are afraid because it is the first case in our commune,” Sophat said.

Village chief Tut Vibol said three of the victims were women, and the fourth was a 13-year-old boy. The nearby forest was small but dense, he said.

”After I’ve seen this case, I’m going to go out and investigate. I’m afraid it will come again,” Vibol said.

Saem, the woman bitten on her way to her farm, said she was especially afraid for her small child. Residents would have to be careful, she said.

She added that after the attack, local residents took the animal away.

“They took it to cook it and ate it all. I heard my uncle ate the wolf’s meat, and he’s still fine,” she said, explaining that it had not made him sick. “There’s no problem for now.”

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