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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Man Who Chose to be Eaten by an Anaconda

Nobody in his right mind would want to be eaten alive by snakes – much less have to do anything with them. But environmentalist Paul Rosolie had a mission. And he wanted the world to listen.

The Passionate Environmentalist
As researcher and conservationist, Paul Rosolie, 27, had studied anacondas in the Amazon for nearly a decade and has looked at death in the eye a couple of times because of his work. The gigantic reptile known to grow as long as 30 feet, strikes its prey with its teeth and ultra-powerful jaws. After which, it crushes its prey with its massive body like marshmallows in the mouth of kids. Picking a fight with an anaconda is certainly not for the fainthearted.

For his part, Rosolie has endured being bitten by the giant snake. The closest brush he had with death was when he was seized by one in a chokehold, breaking his rib in the process. Thanks to the timely intervention of five people, the beast was pried off him. Of course, it nearly got his collarbone popped.

But all that is small stuff to what he had in mind, a feature that will premier on Discovery Channel in his first TV special, “Eaten Alive.”The stunt to have a giant anaconda eat him alive is Rosolie’sattempt to bring attention to the rapid decline of the Amazon – not to mention spiked TV ratings.

The passion to pitch in for the environment is evident. Rosolie, tall and dark, says, “I wanted to do something that would absolutely shock people. ” He adds, “Environmentalists, we love to preach to the choir. What I’m trying to do with this is bring in a bunch of people that wouldn’t necessarily know what’s going on in the Amazon.”

Who is Paul Rosolie?
This is not only going to put Amazon’s plight on the map, it is going to shoot Paul Rosolie into a global icon for Earth-fighters.

And his stunt might pull it off. He reveals, ““For the type of attention that this is getting and for the type of emergency that’s going on down there — desperate times, desperate measures.”

Already, news of his video has gone viral. A quick Google search for “Paul Rosolie Eaten Alive” gives out 250,000 results and counting. Not bad for a kid who seem to have never found interest in school – other than the one nature taught him.

A native of Wychoff, NJ, Rosolie had a good impression of nature while still very young. Unfortunately, his love for wildlife is in direct contrast for his hate in sitting in classrooms and not before long by 16 he dropped out of high school, saving money to heed to the Amazon. In spite of this, he got his GED, and focused on his studying environmental science at Ramapo College in New Jersey. By 18, he was able to secure a research position in Peru, in the Madre de Dios region.

One of Rosolie’s teacher, Michael Edelstein, an environmental psychology professor at Ramapo observed, “He was not the most traditional student, because he was always disappearing to the Amazon.” The university professor added, “This is someone who has risked his life many times, and who has a genuine sense of being an explorer and discovering things and going into situations one doesn’t know how will end. There’s a sense of pure wonder about him.”

Staring Death in the Eye
The stunt Rosolie took required tenuous preparation for him and his team. To boot, they needed to find the right snake in the Amazon, specifically in what locals call the “floating forest” for the dense vegetation above a body of water – the very habitat of the anacondas.

To do this, they had to go through the most dangerous stuff (e.g., crocodiles, electric eels, flooding rivers). But they did find the right anaconda, a 25-foot female weighing about 450 pounds. The massive reptile took not one but 12 people working in water over their heads to capture.
More importantly, Rosolie had to wear protection to enable his body to withstand the massive force of constriction that would be upon him once inside. A team of engineers were tapped to build a custom-design suit tailored to his body and built with carbon-fiber. A 3-hour oxygen supply was installed to enable him to breath along with communication devices and a slew of camera. In case he fell unconscious, he had to swallow a high-tech pill for his vitals.

On the day set for the event, Rosolie’s suit was doused in pig’s blood and to entice the snake some more to eat him, he imitated the movements of the pig itself as a prey to the anaconda.

The TV special has caught a lot of attention worldwide but on the down side, it has also generated a lot of flak. Sadly, most of his detractors were animal rights activists.

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