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Jakarta Post

‘See you soon, mate’: Australian presenter Matt Wright returns home despite failing to rescue Palu crocodile

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 18, 2020   /   05:29 pm
‘See you soon, mate’: Australian presenter Matt Wright returns home despite failing to rescue Palu crocodile Officers are waiting for a wild crocodile caught in a motorcycle tire to surface in the Palu River in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Thursday (02/06/2020). The rescue operation was carried out by the Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), NTT BKSDA, Central Sulawesi Regional Police, and officers from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK). (Antara/Mohamad Hamzah)

After a week of attempting to rescue a crocodile trapped in a motorcycle tire in the Palu River, Central Sulawesi, Australian presenter Matthew Nicolas Wright has excused himself from the rescue mission despite the lack of progress in saving the animal.

The presenter had to return to his home country as his work permit to participate on a local rescue mission with a wildlife rescue team to save the trapped crocodile expired.

“Give the [crocodile] a rest. We’ll be back soon to continue operations,” Wright wrote on a caption of video uploaded to his official Instagram account, @mattwright, on Monday.

In the video, he said he was planning to meet several parties in Australia to set up new plans as well as technologies to catch the crocodile.

Fellow crocodile observer, Chris “Willow” Wilson, also joined earlier this month with the team formed by the Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Central Sulawesi). Wilson returned to Australia on Saturday.

The 4-meter-long crocodile, regularly spotted swimming in the Palu River, has had a used motorcycle tire stuck around its neck for years and has foiled repeated rescue attempts from various parties.

Wright said he promised to come back to Palu in May after setting up new strategies, while adding that the crocodile was in a healthy state and his condition would not be threatened by the tire stuck around its neck for at least a few years to come.

The Australian presenter also appreciated members of the rescue team in the video who had been working together with him in the rescue mission.

Read also: ‘We are up to plan D or E’: Australian rescuers still have no luck catching crocodile

Before returning to their home country, Wilson and Wright had carried out various tricks to attract the crocodile’s attention, including hanging a living duck from a drone that was later flown over the crocodile. Such tactics, however, failed to attract the crocodile, which swam away before disappearing without a trace.

BKSDA Central Sulawesi admitted that Wright’s role during the rescue mission had been substantial, especially in providing training to members of the rescue team on how to tame wild animals without hurting them.

“Thanks [for] helping us. We’re happy to work with you. See you soon mate,” BKSDA Central Sulawesi wrote on its official Instagram account, @bksdasulteng, on Monday.

The agency added that the rescue team would continue to monitor the crocodile and carry out rescue efforts if necessary.

BKSDA Central Sulawesi rescue team leader Haruna said the efforts to free the trapped crocodile from its rubber shackle would continue, although the two Australian experts had gone back to their home country.

Read also: See you later, alligator: Crocodile rescue contest in Palu cancelled as no takers emerge

“However, the rescue operation might not be as intensive as before. We’ll try to attract the animal’s attention first so his behavior won’t change significantly,” Haruna said on Monday, as quoted by

He added that the team would give the animal more space because they had hunted and chased it for several years. The team worried that an extensive rescue effort would stress out the crocodile, prompting it to attack other crocodiles or surrounding communities.

Haruna said he would not invite more people, especially non-experts, to take part in the upcoming mission, as it would pose big risks to those involved. (syk)