A woman was killed in the city of Minahasa in North Sulawesi on Thursday, and authorities believe that she was the victim of an attack by a huge crocodile that she had helped care for.
As reported by Grid.id, the victim, a 44-year-old woman identified as Deasy Tuwo, worked at a pearl farm owned by a Japanese national, who authorities say kept several exotic animals in the farm, including a 600 kg, 5-meter long crocodile named Mery. Deasy’s colleagues said she was often tasked with feeding the crocodile and she was last seen alive on Thursday heading out to carry out the chore.
When Deasy didn’t return that day, her colleagues went to the pond on Friday where Mery was being kept and immediately called the police when they spotted a dead body floating in the water. Police later came and confirmed the maimed body — which had both arms torn off — was Deasy’s and that she was likely to have been killed by Mery.
“It’s likely the crocodile lunged at [Deasy] from the edge [of the pond]. Maybe because it was full, so it didn’t eat all of [Deasy],” said an official at a morgue in Manado, where Deasy’s body was taken.
Around 25 people, comprised of wildlife officials, police and military personnel, as well as locals, sedated Mery this morning and hauled her over to a wildlife sanctuary. The task took several hours as wildlife officials had to inject Mery with sedatives numerous times as the beast kept thrashing about when she was being tied up.
Police are still searching for the Japanese man who owns the pearl farm and Mery. He may face criminal charges if it turns out he kept Mery and other exotic animals without the proper permits.
The Indonesian archipelago is home to a vast array of exotic wildlife, including several species of crocodile that regularly attack and kill humans.
Last year, separate crocodile attacks in Indonesia saw a woman mauled to death in February as well as a man in March. In the case of the latter, the victim was also found dead with his limbs missing.
In April 2016, a Russian tourist was killed by a crocodile in the Raja Ampat islands, a popular diving site in the east of the archipelago.