Indonesia: Oil palm farmer mauled to death by tiger in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 4 Jan 18;

A farmer named Jumiati, 30, was mauled to death by a tiger on Wednesday morning while working in an oil palm plantation in Pelangiran district, Indragiri Hilir regency, Riau.

Pelangiran Police chief First Insp. Muhammad Rafi said that the tiger, believed to be a Sumatran tiger, appeared without warning at around 10 a.m. in an area where Jumiati and two other workers, Yusmawati and Fitriyanti, were pruning weeds and recording data on oil palm trees.

The plantation is owned by PT Tabung Haji Indo Plantation (THIP).

Upon spotting the animal, the three immediately fled the scene, but the tiger was still able to corner them.

"To save themselves, they climbed the 2-meter-high oil palm trees. But the tiger caught Jumiati by the leg and she fell out of her tree," Rafi said. "According to [Yusmawati and Fitriyanti], Jumiati wrestled with the tiger until it bit her in the neck."

The two waited in the trees for two hours until a truck carrying workers passed by during their lunch break.

They later reported the incident to the Pelangiran Police.

"But the tiger had gone [by the time officers arrived]. We found [Jumiati’s] body in the bushes,” Rafi said.

Several days before the incident, several Pelangiran residents reported about a tiger wandering into their neighborhood.

Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) spokesperson Dian Indriati said the BKSDA was still unable to confirm whether it was a Sumatran tiger that attacked Jumiati, pending an ongoing assessment. (vla/ipa)

Tiger mauls Indonesian palm oil plantation worker to death
AFP Jakarta Post 5 Jan 18;

A Sumatran tiger has mauled an Indonesian palm oil plantation worker to death, officials said Thursday, the latest in a string of deadly conflicts between humans and animals blamed on rampant deforestation.

Jumiatik, 30, was found dead at the plantation in Riau province on Sumatra island Wednesday with horrific bite wounds on her neck and legs, police said.

The victim, who like many Indonesians went by one name, was collecting data on pests with two female colleagues before the tiger appeared and chased the trio some 200 meters (655 feet) through the plantation.

Her two workmates, who survived the brutal attack, told authorities they tried to evade the animal by scrambling up oil palm trees, but the tiger latched onto Jumiatik's leg and dragged her to the ground.

"Jumiatik struggled with the tiger for about 15 minutes," local police chief Iptu Rafi told AFP.

"(She) suffered serious injuries on parts of her neck and was eventually killed."

There have been several cases in recent years of tigers killing people in Indonesia, where logging of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations is destroying animals' habitat and bringing them into closer contact with humans.

Last month, a pregnant elephant was found dead at another palm oil plantation on Sumatra, in what authorities suspect was a deliberate poisoning after the elephant ate farmers' fertilizer.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with 400 to 500 remaining in the wild.