Kaohsiung, Taiwan, April 11 (CNA) A Kaohsiung municipal zoo veterinarian had his left forearm bitten off by a crocodile Wednesday, but surgeons are operating to reattach the limb, retrieved after a policeman shot dead the crocodile, according to various sources.
A Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital surgeon said the medical team is optimistic about the operation to reattach the limb.
He said that while the golden time for such surgeries falls within six hours of injury, the operation on Chang began slightly more than an hour after the incident. However, he said, the extent to which the reattached arm will be functional is uncertain.
The attack occurred in the afternoon at Shou Shan Zoo when senior official and veterinarian Chang Po-yu was treating a sick crocodile and removing an anesthetic needle, zoo nurse Huang Shu-chen said.
The surgeon said that the 38-year-old Chang was conscious and that the arm was severed about 5 cm below the elbow. Emergency Service officers said a police officer had to shoot dead the crocodile using a pistol from several meters away in order to retrieve Chang's severed forearm, which was still held in its mouth, so that the forearm could be put on ice and rushed to the hospital.
Zoo officials said that Chang is an experienced and caring vet who had previously risked his life entering the cages of lions and tigers in order to save them from a flood.
(By Y.C. Jou) ENDITEM/jnc