- A crocodile was tangled in a motorcycle tire for six years.
- An Indonesian bird catcher freed the crocodile after three weeks of trying, per AP.
- Photos show that firefighters and a conservation group helped release the animal back into the wild.
A motorcycle tire that had been jammed on a wild crocodile’s neck for at least six years has finally been removed, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Tili, a 35-year-old Indonesian bird catcher, freed the 14.8-foot saltwater crocodile from the tire on Wednesday, after weeks of trying and earlier failed attempts, the AP reported.
The female crocodile had become well-known to the people of Palu, a city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, per the AP.
The giant reptile had even attracted international attention, leading to a failed attempt to free it by the Australian “Outback Wrangler” star Matthew Wright.
In early January, Tili, who had recently moved to Palu, was made aware by his neighbors of the locally iconic, tire-wearing crocodile. He was determined to rescue it, he said.
“I have experiences and skills in catching animals,” he told AP.
Tili used chickens, ducks, and other birds as bait and strung ropes into a trap near a river, AP said.
Three weeks later, on Monday, the crocodile fell into the trap, and Tili, along with two friends, sawed through the rubber tire, according to AP.
Six years after the crocodile was first spotted with a tire around its neck, it was finally freed on Wednesday. Firefighters and a wildlife conservation agency helped release the animal back into the wild.
“For all of the efforts Tili has done for protected wildlife and being the kind of animal lover he is, that’s a great milestone,” said Haruna Hamma, who heads the province’s conservation agency, in an interview with AP.
It’s unknown how the crocodile became trapped in the motorcycle tire. Conservationists have said that it may have been deliberately placed on the animal in a failed attempt to trap it as a pet or for its skin, AP reported.
The crocodile also could have become stuck in the tire when swimming in garbage-filled waters, Hamma said, per AP.