Watch CBS News

Hunt underway for Sumatran tiger after screaming leads workers to man's body, tiger footprints

Sumatran Tiger cub makes debut at Zoo Miami
Sumatran Tiger cub makes debut at Zoo Miami 00:33

A man has been found dead in western Indonesia after a suspected attack by a Sumatran tiger authorities were still hunting, a local official said Saturday, the latest case of conflict between humans and the critically endangered species.

There are only several hundred tigers on the western island of Sumatra left in the wild and they are often targeted by poachers for their body parts, while rampant deforestation has significantly reduced their habitat.

A team of conservationists was deployed to search for the big cat on Saturday after the 26-year-old male victim was found dead at a plantation in Riau province on Sumatra island on Thursday afternoon with wounds indicating a tiger attack.

"Our team has left this morning (to search for the tiger). Based on the report, the area is within the tiger habitat," local conservation agency head Genman Suhefti Hasibuan told AFP Saturday.

Local police chief Budi Setiawan said late Friday they had received a report that two workers heard their friend screaming while they were spraying weeds in an acacia plantation.

The workers tried to look for their colleague but instead found tiger footprints on the ground.

They reported the incident to the plantation management who deployed more people to search for the victim.

The victim's body was later found with a severed right hand as well as bite wounds on his neck, Setiawan said.

In February, at least four farmers in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh were attacked by Sumatran tigers in two separate incidents.

Sumatran tigers, which are a kind of Sunda Island tiger, are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild.

"The last of the Sunda island tigers are holding on for survival in the remaining patches of forest on the island of Sumatra," according to WWF. "Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up extinct like its Javan and Balinese counterparts."

The attack in Indonesia marks at least the third time a tiger has killed a human in the past five months. In December, a Siberian tiger attacked a dog and then killed the pet's owner after he followed its tracks in Russia. Also that month, a zoo in Pakistan was shut down after a man was mauled to death by tigers in an attack discovered during routine cleaning.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.