Crocodile freed from motorcycle tyre stuck around its neck for five years

Conservationists had tried to free the crocodile since 2016

Thomas Kingsley
Tuesday 08 February 2022 16:02
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<p>Residents free a crocodile from a tyre which was stuck around its neck for about five years, before releasing it into a river in Palu, </p>

Residents free a crocodile from a tyre which was stuck around its neck for about five years, before releasing it into a river in Palu,

A crocodile in Indonesia that had a motorcycle tyre stuck around its neck for nearly six years has been freed after a self-taught reptile rescuer intervened to help the animal.

Conservation workers have been trying to lure the afflicted 5.2-metre saltwater crocodile from the river since 2016, after residents in Palu city on Sulawesi island first spotted the animal with a motorbike tyre wrapped around its neck.

However, it was a trap of a local bird seller, Tili, that the crocodile was able to be captured, constrained, rescued then released back into the wild to cheers from locals.

“I just wanted to help, I hate seeing animals trapped and suffering,” said Tili, Central Sulawesi resident.

“I caught the reptile by myself. I was asking for help from people here but they were scared. It got caught in the trap I set up,” he added.

A crocodile with a motorbike tyre around its neck in a river in Palu, Central Sulawesi province, months after Australian television presenter and crocodile expert Matthew Nicholas Wright failed to trap it to remove the tyre

After catching the reptile with the help of dozens of locals, he then used a saw to cut the tyre, set the crocodile loose and ensured he was able to pose for photographs afterwards.

The trap was simply a rope tied to a log with live chicks and ducks used as bait. The crocodile escaped the trap on two occasions before eventually being caught by Tili.

“Many people were sceptical about me and thought I was not serious [about catching the crocodile] but I proved [I could do it],” he said.

Conservationists believe someone may have deliberately placed the tyre around the crocodile’s neck in a failed attempt to trap it as a pet in the archipelago nation that is home to several species of the animal.

Dozens of residents were involved in the operation after the crocodile was brought on land

In January 2020, provincial conservation authorities, desperate to see the crocodile released, offered an unspecified reward for anyone who could remove the tyre.

Hasmuni Hasmar, head of the Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency said Tili was due to receive a prize.

“Yesterday was a historic day for us, we are grateful the crocodile was finally rescued and we appreciate the locals who showed concern for the wildlife. We will award Tili for his effort in rescuing the wildlife,” Mr Hasmar said.

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