Daring Rescue Op Successfully Frees Crocodile Trapped in Tyre for 6 Years

February 9, 2022 Off By Heather Chen

After swimming around with a motorcycle tyre around its neck for six years, a crocodile in Indonesia has finally been freed thanks to a kind villager who took pity on it and led a daring three-week rescue intervention.

Residents in the city of Palu on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi first spotted the animal back in 2016. Crocodiles are a regular sight in rivers surrounding the city but this one stood out, often spotted swimming and sunbathing with the rubber tyre around its neck.

Villagers grew concerned for the saltwater croc as it grew in size over the years, fearing that the tyre would eventually choke it.

Residents surround the captured crocodile during the late night rescue op. Photo: MUHAMMAD RIFKI / AFP
Residents surround the captured crocodile during the late night rescue op. Photo: MUHAMMAD RIFKI / AFP

Despite coordinated efforts from the authorities and local conservationist groups, the wily crocodile managed to evade their traps.

But salvation came in the form of a local animal-lover named Tili. “I hate seeing animals trapped and suffering,” Tili, 34, told local reporters. “Even snakes, I will help.”

It would turn out to be a complex three-week rescue effort. Using live chickens and ducks as bait, Tili set up a trap. His first two attempts to capture the 14-ft crocodile failed because the ropes he used were not strong enough to contend with the animal’s size and weight.

He then switched to nylon ropes used for tugging boats, and finally captured the crocodile. Dozens of villagers came to Tili’s aid and pitched in, helping to restrain the massive reptile while Tili used a small saw supported by a bamboo shoot to cut the rubber tyre. “I was already exhausted so I let them finish the rescue,” he said. “The crocodile was unbelievably heavy, everybody was sweating and getting very tired.”

For his efforts in saving the crocodile, Tili will be rewarded by the local authorities. “Many people were sceptical and thought I was not serious but I proved I could do it,” Tili said.

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