For almost two years, a crocodile in Indonesia has been living with a tyre stuck around its neck.
The poor croc was spotted several times by the River Palu as it bathed in the waters, helplessly stuck in a tyre weighing several pounds. Sightings go as far back as 2016, where the animal was seen gasping for air.
The heartbreaking story touched many locals, who sometimes stop on the riverbank to look at it. The story caught the attention of international media outlets on Thursday (11 January).
Several videos showcase the animal moving slowly – if at all – in Palu's waters. Conservationists believe the tyre is slowly killing the 4m-long reptile.
Many people have tried to approach the reptile in order to help him get rid of the tyre, but all attempts have failed. Officials have used tranquilisers and baits, but to no avail. It's unclear how it got stuck on the crocodile's neck in the first place, but the tyre could threaten its life if the animal can't be reached. The clock is now ticking, as the reptile is still growing and could soon be strangled by its tragic rubber necklace.
A conservation agency will now try to create a trap in order to catch the croc and release him from his circular prison before it's too late.
"In the past year, we saw that there's still enough room for the crocodile's neck to move around," a spokesperson named Haruna told AFP. "But we are not going to wait until the tyre strangles the animal. We will rescue it."
However, the agency lacks the proper equipment to rescue the crocodile, and is struggling to locate its exact position on the river.
"We will definitely save the crocodile but at the same time I also need to consider my men's safety," Haruna added.
This unfortunate story illustrates once more how human waste impacts other living things.
Plastic waste plagues the waters and beaches of almost all countries. Discarded bottles, bags, lighters and beer packs are forming islands in the Pacific Ocean, on the shores of Honduras. Photograph Caroline Power captured shocking images revealing just how bad out recycling habits are. "It was devastating and sickening. It lowered my faith in humanity," Power said at the time.
In Kenya, the lives of hundreds of sea turtles are also at stake. These reptiles often confuse plastic waste on beaches for food and end up with their stomach clogged. An emergency "hospital" formed by the veterinary association Local Ocean has been doing its best to try and save the animals before they die from occlusion or implode.