Palu croc proves too elusive for Aussie wranglers

Australian animal experts tried and failed to free a crocodile that has been stuck for years with a motorcycle tyre around its neck, an Indonesian official said Tuesday.

Matt Wright, the host of the Nat Geo Wild series Outback Wrangler, and fellow animal wrangler Chris Wilson set up steel traps to catch the saltwater crocodile but the reptile proved to be elusive.

“They have returned to Australia but they promised to come again in May if we had not managed to remove the tyre outselves,” said Rino Ginting, the head of the team tasked with saving the crocodile, which lives in a river on Sulawesi island.

“The river is too wide and there were too many spectators, making the crocodile too afraid to walk onto dry land,” he said.

Wright wrote on Instagram on Sunday that the crocodile “has been tough to catch”.

“It’s all about getting the right opportunity to get a good run at catching him and there far and few between,” he said.

On Monday he wrote that he would “be back soon to continue operations.”

Previous attempts by local psychics, members of an Australian conservation group and a celebrity animal whisperer also failed.

Palu River_2
A neighborhood on the banks of the Palu River, which runs through the city. Photo: The Parrot/Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

The crocodile was first spotted in 2016 with the tyre in a river running through Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province.

At the time, officials at the conservation agency feared that the tyre would strangle the reptile as it grew bigger.

Local authorities estimate there are 36 crocodiles in the area.

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