The killer crocodile that ate a worker at an Indonesian Pearl Farm death was being kept illegally, it has been revealed.
Deasy Tuwo, 44, is thought to have been dragged into an enclosure by the 17ft-long crocodile named Merry during feeding time on Friday morning.
The crocodile, which has been relocated to a conservation site, is thought to have bitten off her arm and most of her abdomen.
Tragedy: Deasy Tuwo, 44, is believed to have been throwing meat into the enclosure at the research facility in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, when the crocodile attacked
It is believed that the 700kg crocodile was being kept illegally at the research facility in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, the BBC reported.
Hendriks Rundengan from the North Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) said officials had tried to visit the facility several times in the past to remove the crocodile but had not been allowed in.
‘We’ve come here a few times but the fences are always locked,’ he said in an interview on Wednesday.
The crocodile, called Merry (pictured), was found with Ms Tuwo’s remains still in its jaws at the research facility in North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Merry, was found with Ms Tuwo’s remains still in its jaws at the research facility in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Officials believe Merry the crocodile stood on its hind legs and jumped up the 8ft wall to drag her into the pool, although some reports say that she fell in.
Horrified staff at the facility, named CV Yosiki Laboratory, made the grim discovery later that morning, when they noticed a ‘strange shape’ in the water.
They then saw the crocodile laying on the ground with Ms Tuwo’s savaged body in its jaws.
The reptile, who is fed fresh chicken, tuna and meat every day, has been known to attack other crocodiles in the past, but no fears had been raised it may attack humans.
Rescue workers battled to retrieve Ms Tuwo’s body from the crocodile, which thrashed violently every time they tried to fish the corpse from the water.
Merry was captured on Monday in the city of Tomohon and was pictured strapped to a flat-bed truck to be taken for medical tests to confirm that he had eaten the body parts.
Friends describe Ms Tuwo, the lead scientist at the laboratory, as a ‘quiet person’ who loved animals.
Ms Tuwo’s colleague Erling Rumengan described the horrific moment they discovered her body.
He said: ‘We were curious when we looked at the crocodile pool, there was a floating object, it was Deasy’s body.
‘We were afraid to touch it and we immediately report the incident at the Tombariri police station.
‘It’s possible the crocodile jumped from the side. Maybe it’s because the crocodile was still full, it didn’t finish eating her body.’
Merry the crocodile is at a wildlife rescue center in Bitung district where tests will be carried out on its stomach.
Predator: Merry, a 17ft long crocodile is thought to have stood on its hind legs and jumped up and grabbed her
According to AFP, authorities believe Ms Tuwo’s body parts may still be inside the 4.4m-long crocodile.
Police said they were trying to trace the owner of the crocodile after the incident. He is believed to be a Japanese businessman who opened the research facility. They said he was not at the centre at the time of the incident.
Raswin Sirait, Tomohon Police Chief, said: ‘We are still looking for the owner of the crocodile, besides that we have coordinated with the authorities in the area.
‘I believe the owner must acknowledge this horrible incident. But we have neither seen him nor know where he is.
‘We also need to know if he is legally permitted to own crocodiles and other expensive aquatics in his company. If there is no permit, he will be detained.’
Feeding time: Ms Tuwo would have been standing on the other side of this 8ft wall to feed the crocodile fresh meat
Merry the crocodile was found with Ms Tuwo’s remains still in its jaws on Friday morning
Caught: Rescue workers are pictured on Monday, having captured Merry the crocodile to send him off to have his stomach inspected
Police are now trying to track down a Japanese national who owns both the farm and the crocodile.
The Indonesian archipelago is home to several species of crocodile that regularly attack and kill humans, AFP reports.
In April 2016, a Russian tourist was killed by a crocodile on the Raja Ampat islands, a popular diving site in the east of the archipelago, it says.
Worldwide, crocodiles are estimated to kill about 1,000 humans per year, many more than sharks.
Crocodiles do not necessarily set out to hunt humans, but they are opportunistic killers.
In Africa alone, there are several hundred crocodile attacks on humans per year, between a third to half of which are fatal, depending on the species.
Investigation: Officials inspect the scene where the tragic incident occurred last week