Viewers who tuned in to watch the Discovery Channel’s much hyped Eaten Alive nature special ended up seeing a controversial documentary. The audience took to several different social media sites to let it be known they were outraged that scientist Dr. Paul Rosolie did not get devoured by the giant green anaconda as was seemingly promised.
Instead, he only appeared to be momentarily chewed on by the 20 foot snake. He never came close to entering the serpent’s stomach nor did he get to see if his snake proof suit was actually anaconda resistant. Instead, he had to be saved by his team before his head went inside the huge serpent.
Now, it appears that Discovery has switched into some sort of “damage” control mode and is attempting to defend their show. The network told several different media agencies that Dr. Rosolie wanted to perform his stunt in order to try to obtain the highest amount of attention for the Amazon rain forests and all the wildlife that dwell there.
The Discovery Channel explained how the naturalist went to excessive lengths to send his message. It was his intention to be eaten alive by the giant snake. However, after the anaconda had been biting Paul and constricting him for over an hour,the snake aimed for his head and the experiment was suddenly stopped when everyone realized that Dr. Rosolie could end up being severely injured if he continued. Paul’s safety, along with that of the anaconda, were always the top priorities.
In spite of the controversy, the special had the most viewers for a nature documentary on the cable channel in almost five years. When the ratings were released on Monday evening, they indicated that over 4 million people had watched the Eaten Alive documentary, which were the highest ratings for any type of nature show presented on the network since 2010.
However, Eaten Alive has received angry feedback since it was announced on Discovery that the show would appear last month. Animal rights advocates objected to the special, but Dr. Rosolie retorted with the explanation that the show’s actual goal was to attempt to try to protect millions of animals whose habitats was being shattered by deforestation. It was after the nature special aired that observers decided to criticize Dr. Rosolie because he was not eaten alive by the snake.
The naturalist supposedly told numerous media outlets that it would take a risky giant snake stunt to make people sit up and take notice of what was going in the Amazon. He stated it would make viewers pay attention to a nature preservation documentary. The show incited outrage from animal rights activists in the weeks leading up to its telecast. They were extremely worried about the safety of the serpent, and viewers were angry because they thought Dr. Rosolie did not go further with his “eaten alive” stunt.
On Monday morning PETA released a statement slamming both Discovery and Dr. Rosolie for the program. The animal rights group stated that the snakes were taken from their water habitat and moved to a special filming location before a certain anaconda was chosen. The chosen snake was tricked into expending its needed life energy reserves in order to try to constrict a human who it believed was prey. PETA alleged that Paul Rosolie and his team caused the anaconda terrible stress and deprived her of necessary body energy and needs.
PETA went on to say that the snake was made to constrict and then deprived of any prey. Studies have shown that doing this can be extremely damaging. Rosolie and Discovery both know this, however, they allowed the stunt to be shown for ratings. PETA felt it was nothing but a disgrace.
The Discovery Channel appeared to promise that the scientist would be fully eaten by the serpent. The documentary was entitled Eaten Alive and the description given to the special read that “a man would enter the belly of a giant anaconda.”
Since the show aired, Discovery has been more cautious with the words they use to talk about the stunt. They now are calling it an “attempt” and they are stating that they never revealed the true amount of consumption that would take place by the serpent. What the audience finally saw during the two hour show was the giant snake attack the naturalist while they were standing in what looked like a bog. The anaconda began coiling around Dr. Rosolie’s body and squeezing before it began to chew on his helmet. His team constantly monitored his vital body functions including heart rate and breathing.
He told them to hold off for a few minutes, and then he had to get them to come in and rescue him because the serpent was crushing his left arm. Rosalie explained that he felt the blood drain from his hand and the bone flexed. That was when he believed the snake was going to snap it and he decided to get out. The program later showed how scratched up the scientist’s arm was but it did not appear to be any sort of massive trauma. Time will tell if the right kind of attention was obtained from this documentary. It the meantime Discovery continues to be in defense mode over Eaten Alive.
By Kimberly Ruble
Photo by Ivan Millnaric – Flickr License