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Piranha Attacks in Guangxi, Reward Offered for Their Capture

Piranhas native to South America found in Southern China rivers.

Piranhas native to South America found in Southern China rivers.

From QQ:

Piranhas in Liuzhou, Guanxi Attack Two People, Victim’s Hand a Bloody Pulp

On the afternoon of July 7th, while Mr. Zhang of Liuzhou city was bathing his puppy in the Liujiang river, he was suddenly attacked by three ferocious fish, with one of the three fish biting onto Mr. Zhang’s palm and refusing to let go. Mr. Zhang endured the pain long enough to throw the fish onto the riverbank, only then discovering that a piece of his palm had nearly been bitten off.

Afterwards, Mr. Zhang brought the fish home and searched for information online. Through his online investigations, the fish Mr. Zhang had caught turned out to be exactly the same as piranhas native to South America. A shocked Mr. Zhang immediately called the media, and told them a piranha bit him. At first, reporters were skeptical, but after arriving at the scene of the incident and seeing Mr. Zhang’s bloody pulp of a hand, they could not help but believe it.

Mr. Zhang's hand and attacking piranha

Afterwards, Mr. Zhang’s friend, Wu X, was curious, and started playing with the beached piranha. However, piranhas are no vegetarians, and it suddenly leapt up and bit Mr. Wu’s thumb and immediately fresh blood oozed forth.

[…]

Why would piranhas found far away in South America turn up in the Liujiang river? According to what the department of fishing revealed, piranhas were originally brought into China illegally as tropical show fish. They have been discovered in Liuzhou’s Liujiang river before. In recent years, Guangxi has been the source of many reports of piranhas being found in domestic bodies of fresh water. Naturally, this phenomena cannot be separated from the inward flow of piranhas into China as show fish. Many places in southern China have a climate similar to the Amazon, so it suits piranhas, who are not picky about climate, and reproduce rapidly. On the other hand, most rivers in China lack the natural factors and predators to limit the piranha population. As soon as this type of ferocious fish, alien to China, reaches a certain scale/population in one area, they will “massacre” other fish species in the water, creating a crisis for the local ecological balance.

From what is understood, currently more than 120 species of animals have been brought in to China from the outside, and about 50% of them could expand in population and cause ecological disaster. In contrast to the fierce outcry and concern over piranhas in the media and public, the government seems to have only used soft strategies to deal with them. As of now, China has no laws forbidding the sale of piranhas or other types of show fish. Because there is a blind spot in the law, and lack of governance, show fish piranhas have swam their way into domestic rivers.

[…]

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Comments from QQ:

腾讯网友 月椛 无铭 散:

I have heard this type of fish tastes pretty good. Spread this around until it’s put on the market for sale, and I guarantee within a year there will no longer be a threat.

腾讯娄底市网友 Damien:

I, the emperor, agree to toss corrupt government officials into a pool of piranhas. One piranha for ever 10,000 yuan embezzled. What say you masters and experts, do you agree?

腾讯金华市网友 空心菜:

Invasive species is a very frightening thing, including people, like Africans.

一忮独秀2005:

Don’t go swimming in the river anymore, fortunately he was only bitten on the hand.

腾讯网友 辣笔小鑫: (responding to the above)

I’ve heard they specifically bite the JJ.

武汉市 往昔:

Fish naturally don’t hurt humans. If a human threatens them, then it’ll hurt you. With all animals, if you don’t go threatening them, they won’t come hurt you.

南京市 sjs: (responding to the above)

Super SB.

唯一色彩: (responding to the above)

Lou zhu, what did you and your family eat for lunch? The pig, chicken, duck, fish on your plate, did they come hurt you?

腾讯杭州市网友 古道风: (responding to the above)

I recommend lou zhu go to the Amazon River and swim a lap, but LZ, be sure not to hurt them. There are also poisonous snakes and scorpions hanging about you can play with, but you also have to be very careful not to hurt them either. This way, not only will you not be hurt, you can see dangerous animals up close and in person, how great!

Various videos about this incident and about piranhas quickly shot to the top of the most viewed lists on popular Chinese video sharing website Youku. For example, this first short 50 second video featuring Mr. Zhang recounting what happened accumulated over 1.2m views over a day…

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…while this video was uploaded and viewed over a million times by Chinese netizens curious about just how strong a piranha’s bite can be…

From Sina:

Guangxi Liuzhou Government Encourages Citizens to Fish for Piranhas wih a Reward of 1,000RMB for Each Caught

July 10th, China News (Reporter Meng Mingming)

In an effort to eliminate dangerous piranhas in the local rivers, Guangxi Liuzhou officials are mobilizing city residents to fish along the river, even promising 1000 yuan RMB rewards for each piranha caught.

On July 9th, Liuzhou gathered its fisherman and cast a 10,000 meter fishing net along with bait along several kilometers of the river where the piranhas were first sighted. When the net was pulled in on the 10th, more than 10kgs of various species of fish were caught, with nearly half of them being mandarin fish, and no trace of piranhas.

As Wei Yongwen, head of Liuzhou’s water husbandry department, explained, mandarin fish are a carnivourous species of fish, and have similar habits as piranhas. This means the net and bait method used should be able to catch piranhas.

On Wednesday, the officials of Liuzhou welcomed citizens to partake in the movement to eradicate the piranhas,offering 1000RMB for each caught. On the evening of the 10th, reporters saw many fishing enthusiasts cutting up pork and such to use as bait, lining up along the banks of the river to fish for the piranhas.

Comments from Sina:

新浪广东佛山199471306:

This policy is extremely dangerous! Large quantities of piranhas will not be shipped towards Liuzhou! They weren’t thinking when they passed this policy!!!

新浪广东广州手机用户:

Does it cost 1,000 yuan to buy a piranha?

新浪浙江丽水手机用户:

The government is stupid. They could’ve just said piranhas can cure cancer and I guarantee you within two months there won’t even be fish fries in that river.

新浪江苏手机用户:

Be careful of our countrymen’s greed resulting in the number of piranhas rising instead of falling.

新浪广西河池手机用户

You can see [the policy] was in consideration of the ordinary common people’s safety. I support it!

新浪山西太原手机用户

Just what the hell is customs doing?

The Liuzhou government has since cancelled the 1000 RMB bounty for piranhas.

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