The Jakarta Post
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.
We’ll be back soon to continue operations @willow_nt #palu #palucroc #nine #thetodayshow #crocodile #australia #indonesia @persijajakartanews @jakartanews_ @gnfi @bbcindonesia @gtvindonesia_news @bksda_jakarta @antaranewscom @liputan6 @tiwiislandretreat @darwinairboattours @topendsafaricamp
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.
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.
Good Bye Mr. @mattwright thanks to helping us.. we're happy to working with you.. see you soon mate.. kami tunggu untuk operasi selanjutnya kawan.. Dengan berakhirnya Surat Tugas Tim Penanganan Satwa maka operasi Tahap 1 dalam penanganan buaya berkalung ban B3 di palu, tim akan melakukan pemantauan secara rutin, dan tim akan melakukan kembali Rescue B3 apabila menurut hasil pemantauan sudah siap dilakukan.
“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.
“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 kompas.com.
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)