Indonesia: Bear attacks couple in Riau rubber plantation

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 11 Oct 18;

A husband and wife extracting latex in a plantation in Kuantan Singingi, Riau, were attacked by a bear on Wednesday.

Abu Hanifah, 56, and Lastri, 42, suffered severe injuries and are currently undergoing medical treatment at Teluk Kuantan General Hospital.

According to Kuantan Singingi Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Fibri Karpiananto, the bear first attacked Abu and clawed his face. Lastri, who was tapping rubber at the other side of the plantation, came to help her husband after he cried for help.

“She tried to help her husband to shoo the bear, but the bear started attacking her instead and she sustained a gash in her left thigh. Both of them were shouting for help while trying to drive the animal away,” Fibri said on Thursday.

Their shouts were heard by other workers at the plantation, two of whom, Riko and Amri, found the couple covered in blood when they came to help. They took the couple home to their village located 8 kilometers from the plantation.

“The witnesses did not see the bear, since the animal had already left the location by the time they arrived,” Fibri said.

The Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Riau) later dispatched a team to the scene to investigate the bear’s presence.

BKSDA Riau spokesperson Dian Indriati said the team had not been able to locate the bear as of Thursday morning.

“We didn’t find any traces or scratches in the location since the area was dark yesterday,” she said.

Based on information from local residents, Dian added, bear sightings in the area are actually quite common but there is no record of conflict prior to this incident. (dpk)