The Crocodile Photographs

[Summary]  At the Shaoshan Zoo in Kaohsiung (Taiwan), a Nile crocodile bit off the arm of a veterinarian.  On the next day, some of the newspapers showed the photographs of the severed arm in the crocodile's mouth on the front page.  It took TVBS to come to deliver the lecture on the lack of media self-discipline.

The gory photographs in Apple Daily are shown here.  As it turns out, Agence France Presse and Associated Press also released stories with even bigger close-ups of the severed arm in the jaw of the crocodile.  The difference is that the AFP/AP stories will probably not appear on the front page of newspapers around the world.

(TVBS)  Photographs of Severed Arm Shown; Newspaper Condemned For Being Bloody.  April 12, 2007.

[in translation]

At the Shaoshan Zoo in Kaohsiung, a Nile crocodile bit off the arm of a veterinarian.  This story became the focus of the newspapers, some of which even showed the bloody photograph of the crocodile with the severed arm in its mouth.  When many citizens saw the close-up, their first reaction was: "This is disgusting!"  When left on the newsstand, children can see it.  Therefore, parents are condemning the newspapers for lacking in self-discipliary.  So they are left with the task of hiding the newspapers and act as the gatekeepers for their children.

At the newsstands yesterday, the severed arm story was on the front page of the newspapers.  Apple Daily has the largest photograph (half a page) of the crocodile holding the arm with the tightly held fist in its mouth.  There was another half page of the five steps in which the incident took place.

United Daily Press gave 1/4 page to the crocodile with severed arm in mouth photograph on its front page.  China Times showed a photograph in which the crocodile had released the severed arm, which was nevertheless still visible near the railing; the crocodile with severed arm in mouth photograph was shown on page 3. 

TVBS: "Most newsstands are 120 cm tall.  When these outrageous photographs are placed on the front page, all elementary and middle school students will see them."

Even if a child is shorter than the newsstand, he/she can still see the horrifying photographs because most newspapers are placed at the 40 cm or 60 cm level.  One citizen said: "Wouldn't I be scared?  When I see this photograph, wouldn't I be scared?  Wouldn't I be afraid of crocodiles?"  Another citizen said: "I are likely to hide the United Daily News front page and not let my daughter see it."

When the parents accompany their children, they can be the gatekeepers.  But who is going to block the view of the other children who are passing by?  The grown-ups have to ask: Where is media self-discipline?

(Apple Daily)


A Taiwanese zoo vet has had his arm reattached after it was bitten off by a crocodile.

Earlier reports that the crocodile had been shot have been proven untrue after an examination of the animal.

Chang Po-yu, 38, from the southern Kaohsiung city's Shou Shan Zoo, was injecting the sick crocodile with anaesthetic when it attacked him.

The Associated Press reported that Mr Chang was trying to retrieve a tranquiliser dart from the reptile's hide when it attacked him.

Police shot a crocodile after it bit off the arm - but no bullet holes have been found in its skin.

Dramatic television footage showed a police officer firing on the animal to wrest the severed limb from its jaws.

Chang Po-yu, 38, from the southern Kaohsiung city's Shou Shan Zoo, was injecting the sick crocodile with anaesthetic when it attacked him.

(Associated Press)

Surgeons have reattached a Taiwanese vet's forearm after a 200-kilogram Nile crocodile chomped it off.

The male crocodile severed Chang Po-yu's forearm at the Shaoshan Zoo in the southern city of Kaohsiung when he tried to retrieve a tranquilliser dart from the reptile's hide so he could give it medication, zoo officials said.

The Liberty Times newspaper said Dr Chang failed to notice that the crocodile was not fully anaesthetised when he stuck his arm through an iron rail to medicate it.

A zoo worker shot the crocodile twice in the neck so colleagues could retrieve the arm.

It was reattached yesterday in an operation that lasted for seven hours.

"The crocodile was unharmed, as we didn't find any bullet holes on its hide," zoo official Chen Potsun said.

"It probably was shocked and opened its mouth to let go of the limb."

The 17-year-old reptile is one of a pair of Nile crocodiles kept by the zoo. Known as a man-eater because of its voracious nature, the Nile crocodile is listed as an endangered species, and is rapidly disappearing from its native African habitat.

Mr Chen said the zoo bought the crocodile 10 years ago from a local resident who had kept it as a pet.