After a five-day cat-and-mouse game with a crocodile in Central Sulawesi to no avail, Australian crocodile observer Chris Wilson – who had assisted in local rescue efforts alongside fellow expert Matthew Nicolas Wright – decided to bow out and return to his home country.
The crocodile, often seen in the Palu River, has had a used tyre stuck around its neck for years and has foiled repeated attempts to remove the tyre, including a recent rescue contest held by the Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Central Sulawesi).
Wilson wrote on his official Instagram page @willow_nt that his adventure in Central Sulawesi had come to an end and expressed hope that his colleague Wright would liberate the crocodile from its rubber shackles in the next few days.
“My adventure in Palu has come to an end! Absolutely devastated I’m not going to be here when Matty finals gets him under control!” he wrote in the post, which came with video footage of himself explaining the difficulties he faced on Saturday night.
He said he and other members of the rescue team, including Wright, had spent the entyre day tracking the animal over 7km on foot.
“Had a couple of close chances but once again the crowds, the high flowing water, full moon, and many other factors working against us!” he wrote.
Wilson left Palu at 9am local time for Jakarta, from where he would catch a flight back to Australia.
“Chris returned to his home country this morning, but Matt will remain in Palu for the next four days, ” BKSDA Central Sulawesi wildlife rescue team leader Haruna said.
He said the agency would continue local rescue efforts even after Wright returned to Australia.
“We will keep using harpoons. Members of our team trained with Matt using harpoons yesterday.
“I hope our team will be able to put knowledge to practice and work without Matt’s assistance, ” Haruna said.Wright said in an Instagram post that all was well but that the BKSDA team had exhausted its funds.
“I’ve started a GoFundMe page. If you can jump on that, donate a bit of money, give these guys a leg-up and keep this operation rolling, ” he said.
“I’m only going to be here for another couple of days. Now if we catch him, we catch him. If not, it’s going to be an ongoing process.”
Wilson and Wright previously joined BKSDA Central Sulawesi to assist in the rescue of the crocodile.
The participation of the Australians is based on a decree by the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Monday to BKSDA Central Sulawesi, into whose operational control the crocodile rescue team has been entrusted. — The Jakarta Post/ANN
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