independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Tigers trap five hunters up trees

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species

Rescuers are searching for five men reportedly trapped in trees by several Sumatran tigers after the animals mauled a companion to death..

Police chief Lt. Col. Dicky Sondani said a 30-member rescue team had been sent to Indonesia's protected Mount Leuser National Park in Taming, an Aceh district neighbouring with North Sumatra province.

The men were looking for rare agarwood - used to make incense and perfume - and accidently caught a tiger cub in a trap they were using to catch deer for food.

The incident caused five other tigers in the area to attack the men. One was mauled to death, while the five others managed to climb into trees.

The rescue team needed three days to reach the rugged terrain area, but they had not located the missing men Mr Sondani said.

"We are worried because they could be weak and fall from the trees due to a lack of food," he said.

Leuser park covers 3,000 square miles on the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces. Besides Sumatran tigers, the park is home to other protected animals, including orang-utans, elephants, rhinos and leopards.

Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies. About 400 remain, down from 1,000 in the 1970s, because of forest destruction and poaching.

Press Association

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