Jakarta – A contest to save a wild crocodile that has been living with a used motorcycle tire around its neck for years has been cancelled after the Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Central Sulawesi) failed to gain any interest from the community.
"Yes, we are ending the contest," BKSDA Central Sulawesi head Hasmuni Hasmar said during a visit to the Palu River on Sunday as quoted by Antara news agency.
Hasmuni said that, in place of the contest, the agency would prepare a special team with the assistance of the Environment and Forestry Ministry's Biodiversity Conservation Directorate General.
"We will not give up. We have prepared equipment for the team," he said, adding that the special team would arrive in Palu on Tuesday.
However, Hasmuni did not reveal what strategies the special team would adopt to rescue the crocodile.
BKSDA Central Sulawesi had launched the contest because it did not have enough resources to locate the wild crocodile in question.
The reptile was regularly spotted swimming in the waters connecting the Palu River to Palu Bay. Officials and conservationists previously tried but failed to catch it.
Family Reptiler Tadulako (FARTA), a community of reptile lovers in Palu, expressed hope that the crocodile could be helped as soon as possible, as the tire could endanger its life.
"Hopefully the evacuation can run smoothly. We hope that we can help the agency in some way," FARTA founder Gunanta said.
Gunanta said that, once saved, the crocodile could be released in the Palu River, its original habitat. (syk)