A cash reward has been offered to anyone brave enough to attempt to remove a tyre from around a crocodile’s neck.
The animal has had its head stuck in the rubber prison since at least 2016 and previous efforts to catch it have proved fruitless.
There are concerns the tyre could one day strangle the reptile as the beast is still growing.
Now, local authorities in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, have offered an unspecified reward for anyone who can ‘save the crocodile from the tyre.’
The four-metre long reptile lives in the waters that connect the Palu Bay with the Palu River.
The Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Central Sulawesi) announced the contest and said they hope the crocodile can be freed this year.
Agency chief Hasmuni Hasmar said a non-profit organisation from Australia had previously helped try to catch the reptile but to no avail.
Other local conservationists tried to lure it onto dry land using chicken as bait but the crocodile showed no interest.
Mr Hasmar did not specify how much they would pay but added: ‘A reward will be given to anyone who can release the hapless reptile.’
He also stressed he did not want amateurs to risk themselves and only wanted people with a background in wildlife rescue.
He said: ‘We’re asking the general public not to get close to the crocodile or disturb its habitat.’
Wildlife officials are especially concerned that the tyre – thought to come from a Vespa scooter thrown into the estuary – will strangle the crocodile if it is not removed urgently.
Fears for its safety intensified when a video showed it apparently gasping for air in 2018.
An agency official said at the time: ‘Its body is getting bigger and the tyre which should be 14 inches, is stifling it.
‘If the tyre is not removed immediately, it will strangle the crocodile because of its growing body.’