Conservationists hunt for man-eating tiger
Oyos Saroso H.N. and Jon Afrizal , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA, BANDARLAMPUNG, JAMBI Fri, 02/27/2009 2:14 PM Headlines
The Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in cooperation with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and other concerned NGOs are intensifying the hunt for a man-eating tiger.
The Sumatran tiger is reported to have killed and eaten two illegal loggers from Lampung last week in Sungai Gelam district, Muaro Jambi, Jambi. The BKSDA is reportedly mulling relocating the tiger.
On Thursday, ZSL Indonesia representative Dolly told The Jakarta Post in Bandarlampung that a female tiger nicknamed Salwa, who the BKSDA captured on Feb. 11, might not be the only tiger in the jungle that had eaten humans.
The fact that people had continued to be attacked and eaten by a tiger even after her capture indicated there was at least another man-eater in the wild.
"We are now working together with the BKSDA in Jambi to catch the tiger. We have found its traces based on our survey and mapping," Dolly said.
Salwa, now being kept temporarily at Rimba Pall Merah Zoo in Jambi, is strongly believed to have attacked a total of five people, three of them fatally, between the end of January and the beginning of this month.
Dolly said there were frequent reports of the target tiger entering villages in Muaro Jambi area and causing panic among villagers. Its most recent appearance was in Paal 12 village in Sungai Gelam.
"We want to catch it soon. It probably will be released back into its habitat together with Salwa," Dolly said. He also said they would likely be released in a forest in Jambi. "It's possibly the South Bukit Barisan National Park," he said.
Sumatran tigers are the world's most critically endangered tiger subspecies. Only about 250 of the big cats are left in the wild, down from about 1,000 in the 1970s.
Illegal hunting and trading of the rare animals is blamed for their decline. In Jambi, for instance, such practices have rapidly decimated the tiger population from 50 a few years ago to only about 20 at present.
"Unless something is done about it, they will be extinct in only a few years' time," Jambi BKSDA head Didy Wurjanto said recently.