05/07/2007 17:54 - (SA)
Jakarta - A tiger attacked and mauled a boy to death and seriously injured another at a coffee plantation on Indonesia's Sumatra Island, a local media report said on Thursday.
An official from Bengkulu province's nature conservation office said the incident occurred on Wednesday morning when the victims, identified as Heri, 10, and Harto Saputra, 8, were hunting for birds at the coffee plantation in Ujung Rembung village of Seluma district.
Suddenly, a tiger emerged from a nearby forest and attacked them, the state-run Antara news agency reported.
The hungry beast tore most of Heri's body to shreds, while Saputra was in critical condition after the tiger mauled his neck, thigh and leg, Yohanes Sutanto, head of the province's conservation office, was quoted as saying.
Saputra was rescued by nearby residents after screaming for help, Sutanto said, adding that a team led by police officers was sent to the area to capture the tiger with a trap and relocate it to a provincial nature park.
Environmentalists said the attack was a result of the destruction of the species' natural habitat by logging activities, saying tigers would not disturb humans if their habitat was not destroyed.
The local conservation agency estimated that only about 50 tigers remain in Bengkulu's forests. The Sumatran tiger is classified as an endangered animal in Indonesia and is protected by law.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are between 400 and 500 Sumatra tigers left in the wild.
The Sumatran tiger is believed to be the last remaining sub-species of tiger indigenous to Indonesia. The Bali and Java tigers are believed to be extinct.
Environmentalists blamed illegal hunting, which claims an estimated 50 Sumatran tigers per year, and rampant deforestation in Sumatra for the big cat's drastic drop in population.