Sumatran tiger kills Indonesian farmer: villagers

Channel NewsAsia 13 Mar 13;

SIDEMPUAN, Indonesia: A Sumatran tiger has killed a cocoa farmer in Indonesia, villagers claimed Wednesday, in the latest apparent attack by the rare wild cat as its habitat is rapidly cleared for plantations.

The body of Karman Lubis, 32, was found decapitated around one kilometre (0.6 miles) from a cocoa plantation on Sumatra island at 02:00 on Tuesday (1900 GMT Monday), while his head was found hours later in another area, a relative said.

Lubis' right hand was still missing, Amiruddin Nasution added, saying he was likely attacked by a tiger sighted days earlier near their village of Rantau Panjang, adjacent to the Batang Gadis National Park on the island's north.

A national park office staff member said there were no witnesses to confirm a tiger was to blame.

"Given the body's condition, he could have been attacked by a bear, a clouded leopard or a tiger," said the staff member, who declined to be named.

The Sumatran tiger is the world's smallest tiger and is critically endangered, with only an estimated 400 to 500 alive on the Indonesian island.

Rampant deforestation and poaching have led to a decrease in the number of Sumatran tigers, experts say.


Tiger Mauls Rubber Plant Worker to Death in North Sumatra
SP/Arnold Sianturi Jakarta Globe 13 Mar 13;

Panyabungan, North Sumatra. Villagers say a tiger has killed a rubber planter on the outskirts of the Batang Gadis National Park in the Mandailing Utara district of North Sumatra, a report on Wednesday said.

The body of Karman Lubis, 32, was found in a rubber plantation in Ranto Panjang village on Tuesday, relatives of the victims said.

His head was separated from the body, Amiruddin Nasution, the uncle of the victim said.

Karman, who was a rubber sap tapper at the plantation, had been missing since Monday and a tiger had been seen roaming the area a few days earlier.

“Several days ago, there were several villagers who did indeed see a roaming tiger, but at the time the tiger did not attack. The wild animal did not attack maybe because there were many villagers,” Amiruddin said.

Amiruddin and the villagers said they believed a tiger killed Karman.

He said that he and other villagers went out to the plantation to look for Karman, who had failed to return home the day before.

“We immediately went to the rubber plantation and found the bloodied clothes of the victim. The headless body was found not far from the clothes,” Amiruddin said, adding that the head and the body were full of claw marks.

The incident has spread fear among villagers in Ranto Panjang, with many opting to remain home, for fear of being attacked by the prowling beast.

“Some of the people here are scared and it has been jointly agreed to form a group to conduct surveillance on the village to anticipate attacks by the tiger who is looking for new prey,” Darma Lubis, another villager, said.

Darma admitted that the human activities have increasingly encroached into the national park — a habitat for many wildlife species, including the threatened Sumatran tiger.

The Sumatran tiger is a subspecies that lives only in Sumatra and are estimated to number between 400 and 660 individuals.

Massive deforestation has been blamed for the increasing number of encounters with the endangered Sumatran tigers.

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