Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Unfortunate wild encounters for Kiwi travellers

Photos / Thinkstock
Photos / Thinkstock

Run-ins with monkeys, seals and a camera-chewing leopard are some of the unfortunate events Kiwi travellers encountered overseas in the last year.

Medical claim information from Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) revealed a range of incidents involving wild and domestic animals had led to a variety of claims in the past 12 months.

"We've had people claim for medical treatment after being stung by a jellyfish or poisonous fish when snorkelling, through to claims for property that's been chewed up by puppies in the home of someone the insured is staying with," SCTI chief executive Craig Morrison said.

Claims lodged included one fisherman whose rod was taken by a seal. Another photographer had his camera chewed by a leopard in Africa.

Mr Morrison said animal bites, particularly from dogs and monkeys, made up a large number of claims requiring medical treatment.

Information from the World Health Organisation supported the claims figures - with dogs accounting for between 76 and 94 per cent of animal bite injuries, followed by monkeys.

One unlucky Southern Cross customer was actually bitten by a monkey and a stray dog on the same trip.

"I recently read in the Bangkok Post that one local hospital at a Thai beach resort treated around 600 people for monkey bites in the last year - 75 per cent of them foreigners. I get that they're cute, but you have to remember that they're wild animals with very, very sharp teeth," Mr Morrison said.

They were also big fans of sunglasses and wallets - with the items being the most common belongings stolen by monkeys.

Tourists visiting places with large monkey populations, such as the Batu Caves in Malaysia or the Monkey Forest in Bali, should take extra care, Mr Morrison advised.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance tips:


• Research the country you are travelling to.

• Stray dogs are common in many places including Samoa, India, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Greece and throughout Southeast Asia.

• Don't try to pet or feed any stray dogs you see.

• Exercise extreme caution around monkeys. Don't feed them or taunt them with food.

• Keep valuables out of sight if you are in an area with a large monkey population. For example, place glasses, cameras, water bottles and wallets in a backpack.

• Scrub any bites with clean water and soap for about 15 minutes as soon as it happens, and seek medical help.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 21 Dec 2014 17:30:04 Processing Time: 590ms