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Jakarta Post

Tiger shot dead, chopped up, eaten

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Thu, March 10, 2016   /  08:30 am

A female Sumatran tiger has been shot dead after wandering into a village in North Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra, according to the North Sumatra Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

The agency'€™s protection, preservation and mapping section head, Joko Iswanto, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that residents of Silantom Tong village had had the beast shot, then butchered it.

'€œOnly the head remains; we'€™re keeping it safe at the BKSDA office in Medan,'€ Joko said.

His office, he added, had not yet ascertained the age of the ill-fated animal, but said that going by the size of its head, it was an adult.

According to reports compiled by Joko, the tiger was caught in a trap set by villagers.

It managed to free itself, but instead of fleeing back into the jungle, the tiger instead made its way into the village.

The tiger reportedly roamed the streets of the village for some time, unnerving residents, who reported the sighting to the police.

R. Simatupang, a resident of Silantom Tong, said that he and his fellow villagers had asked the police to shoot the tiger; once the tiger was dead, the villagers dismembered and diced the carcass, distributing the meat to the settlement'€™s households to be eaten.

Locals refer to such practices as binda.

'€œBinda is a traditional way to treat wild animals '€” we cut them into pieces and distribute the meat,'€ Simatupang said.

He would not be surprised, he added, to see further tigers enter the village, which is located on the edge of the jungle.

'€œWe hope the [local] forestry agency and security officers will determine the whereabouts of tigers in the forest near Silantom and stop them from disturbing people,'€ Simatupang said.

Joko, meanwhile, said that the tiger was a victim of growing conflict between humankind and other species, as its habitat had been destroyed by illegal logging.

'€œTigers are forced to leave their natural habitats because the forest and surroundings are being damaged by illegal logging,'€ Joko said.

He added that the conflict between tigers and humans had claimed numerous lives on both sides.

In 2014, a Sumatran tiger was speared to death by people in Toba Samosir regency.

Last year, a 5-year-old tiger almost died after one of its legs was amputated. The leg was decaying after being caught in a trap set by residents of Batu Madinding subdistrict in Mandailing Natal regency.

In terms of human fatalities, Joko said, at least eight people living in the environs of Batang Gadis National Park (TNBG) in North Sumatra had reportedly been killed in tiger attacks between 2008 and 2014.

The population of Sumatran tigers in the park is thought to stand at between 10 and 19.

The Switzerland-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Sumatran tiger as a critically endangered species since 1996.

The organization has reported that the species is struggling with habitat loss amid the expansion of oil palm and acacia plantations, as well as illegal trading, primarily for the domestic market.

Poachers frequently hunt the tigers, which are native to the vast and diverse habitats of Sumatra, as their body parts fetch high prices for use in traditional medicines in Asia.

Data from the BKSDA show that the population of Sumatran tigers in the wild currently stands at around 400 across the entirety of the island of Sumatra.

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