A SCOTS soldier stationed inKenyawas rushed to hospital after being dragged from his sleeping bag by a Hyena.
Private Steven Wishart had been in the African country for three weeks when the beast attacked him.
Fellow soldiers from the exercise yard at the British Army’s Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) were able to save the 25-year-old.
He was then taken to Nairobi to be treated for rabies and other diseases and is now said to be “upbeat”.
Private Wishart, who comes from Arbroath, said the experience has “made me think about where I sleep and to be more aware of what is out there”.
He said he was scared. But when it comes to explaining the experience in the pub when he returns “I may change the story a little bit”, he said.
Major Peter Starkey, a medical officer from 1 Royal Ghurkha Regiment, was responsible for assessing Steven’s injuries and for ensuring his safe passage to hospital in Nairobi.
Major Starkey said that only the soldier closest to Steven at the time of the attack knows what animal attacked his comrade: “We have taken photographs of the puncture marks on his leg and emailed them to the Natural History Museum where they’re going to make that definitive call that it was a Hyena.”
Rafe Parker, of Garrison Radio, said he interviewed Private Wishart in Kenya the day after the attack. “He was on crutches and his leg was bandaged up,” he said.
“He was telling me he will be left with scars. But he was really upbeat. If he had been that ill he wouldn’t have been hopping around. He talked about how scared he was at the time and that he was screaming. He didn’t try to put a brave face on it. By this stage he was pretty relaxed.”
Mr Parker said only one solder witnessed the beast and managed to scare the animal away by shining a light in its face. He said: “Only one person saw it and it wasn’t Steven, who only ever felt it,” he said.
“Given the wildlife in the area a hyena is most likely. The punctures indicate that it’s definitely a canine. If it wasn’t a hyena it would have been something far more vicious, which wouldn’t have been inclined to let go its grip by shining a light in its face.”
Hyenas have a reputation for being cowardly scavengers, although the animals, especially spotted hyenas, are said to kill 95% of the food they eat.
They have also been known to drive off leopards or lionesses from their kills. Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals, but may venture from their lairs in the early morning hours.
Among the beliefs held by some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people’s spirits, rob graves, and steal livestock and children.
An anecdotal news report from the World Wide Fund for Nature in 2004 indicated that 35 people were killed by spotted hyenas in a 12 months period inMozambique.