Crocodile finally freed from a tire stuck on its neck for 6 years

PALU, Indonesia (AP) — A wild crocodile with a used motorcycle tire stuck around its neck for six years was finally freed by an Indonesian ornithologist in a tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials hailed as a milestone on Wednesday. important.

The 14.8ft female saltwater crocodile has become an icon for the people of Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi. The beast was seen on the city river with the tire around its neck getting tighter and tighter, in danger of suffocating it.

Rescuers hold a crocodile after removing a tire from its neck, in Palu, Central Sulawesi February 7, 2022. The wild crocodile with the used motorbike tire stuck around its neck for six years was finally freed by a Indonesian bird catcher in a tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials hailed as a milestone. (AP Photo/Mohammad Taufan)(Mohammad Taufan | AP)

Conservation officials have been racing to save the crocodile since residents spotted the reptile in 2016, earning sympathy from residents and around the world. In 2020, Australian crocodile wrestler Matthew Wright and American wildlife biologist Forrest Galante unsuccessfully tried to free the reptile.

In early January, 35-year-old bird catcher and trader Tili, who recently moved to the city, heard about the famous crocodile from his neighbors and decided to save the reptile after seeing it frequently basking in a neighboring estuary.

People gather around a crocodile that has just had a neck tire, in Palu, Central Sulawesi,...
People gather around a crocodile that just got a tire from its neck, in Palu, Central Sulawesi, February 7, 2022. The wild crocodile with the used motorbike tire stuck around its neck for six years has was eventually released by a recipient Indonesian bird in a tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials hailed as a milestone. (AP Photo/Mohammad Taufan)(Mohammad Taufan | AP)

“I have experience and skill in catching animals, not just birds, but farm animals that are released from the cage,” Tili, who goes by one name, told The Associated. Press. “I believe I can save the crocodile with my skills.”

He threaded ropes of various sizes into a trap tied to a tree near the river and set chickens, ducks and birds as bait. After three weeks of waiting and several unsuccessful attempts, the crocodile finally fell into the trap on Monday evening. With the help of two of his friends, Tili pulled the trapped crocodile to the ground and sawed off the tire, which measured 1.6 feet in diameter.

A crocodile with a motorcycle tire stuck around its neck lounges by a river in Palu, Central...
A crocodile with a motorbike tire stuck around its neck lazes by a river in Palu, Central Sulawesi on January 14, 2020. The wild crocodile that has had the used tire stuck around its neck for six years has finally was released by an Indonesian bird catcher in a tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials hailed as a milestone. (AP Photo/Mohammad Taufan)(Mohammad Taufan | AP)

A video that circulated widely on the internet showed a crowd cheering nearby as Tili and his friends freed the crocodile. Other residents then contacted firefighters and a wildlife conservation agency to help them release the animal into the wild.

“For all the effort Tili has made to protect wildlife and be the kind of animal lover he is, this is a big milestone,” said Haruna Hamma, who heads the province’s conservation agency. Central Sulawesi.

Tili, a bird catcher who, like many Indonesians, only uses one name, brandishes a tire after...
Tili, a bird catcher who like many Indonesians uses only one name, holds up a tire after pulling it out of a crocodile’s neck, in Palu, Central Sulawesi, on February 7 2022. The wild crocodile with the used motorcycle tire stuck around its neck for six years has finally been freed by the man and his friends in a tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials have hailed as a milestone. (AP Photo/Josua Marunduh)(Joshua Marunduh | AP)

He said it was unclear how a used motorcycle tire got stuck around the crocodile’s neck. Conservationists said it was likely deliberately planted by people in a failed attempt to trap it as a pet or carve it up for sale, but crocodiles and other swimming reptiles often travel in waters filled with trash with nothing to stop a tire from encircling them, Hamma says.

Government data recorded 279 crocodile attacks in Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, between 2007 and 2014. salt water, 135 of which were fatal.

Despite attacks, the saltwater crocodile is protected by Indonesian law.

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