Saturday, April 14, 2007

Getting too close to Nature

This image was originally posted at Guardian Online

Taiwan made the international news again. This time it was the zookeeper in Kaohsiung getting his arm ripped off. But that's not the end of the story. The Guardian had a series of photos titled Biting the hand that feeds, crocodile snaps off zooworker's arm, with the caption,

Kaohsiung, Taiwan: The lower left arm of zoo veterinarian Chang Po-yu was bitten off by a crocodile when he tried to pull a tranquilizer dart from its body. In a bid to rescue the arm two bullets were shot at the crocodile but it was unharmed. Chang eventually underwent emergency surgery to have his limb reattached.

In the Guardian version, the crocodile escapes unharmed however the lead sentence of the Taipei Times article, Zoo's incompetence kills crocodile in Kaohsiung, reads,

A crocodile was shot dead at Kaohsiung Shoushan Zoo yesterday after biting off a veterinarian's forearm when he was trying to treat the sick animal.

Maybe it's Schroedinger's Crocodile with the philosophical ability to be alive and dead at the same time like a cat in a box. Or maybe it's just a mistake. Though it's not as big of a mistake as putting your arm too close to a massive carnivorous lizard or holding your child too close to a caged chimpanzee. The last paragraph reads,

This was the second animal attack at the zoo in two months. On Feb. 11, a chimpanzee bit off part of the finger of a three-year-old boy when his father held him too close.

When I looked for the Feb. 11 story I found a similar story, 4-year-old boy bitten by gorilla in Kaohsiung zoo; parents protest from March 12. I couldn't find the Feb. 11 story that the Times mentions. Maybe I wasn't searching properly, and if anyone can find the Feb. 11 story, please leave the link to it in the comments. Either way the Times has made at least two factual errors in their article.

According to the Chinese language news the crocodile is alive and well and people are flocking to see him, so it probably wasn't shot dead. And either the Feb. 11 reference is a mistake or this was the third, not the second attack at the zoo in two months. The Chinese language news is also reporting that the attention the crocodile received has led to another discovery. The Kaohsiung Zoo has maintained that the crocodile was a rare Nile crocodile, but under scrutiny it turns out to be a saltwater crocodile. What's going on these days at the Taipei Times and the Kaohsiung Zoo? Sounds like shenanigans to me.

The article, Chimp in zoo tries to drag away Chinese boy, shows us that these shenanigans happen on both sides of the Strait.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Every time I see an 'odd' Taiwanese news story I think of you.....