Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Endangered Sumatran Tiger Slain After Being Mistaken For Shape-Shifter

Villagers kill rare tiger after believing it was a shapeshifter Modal Trigger The carcass of a Sumatran tiger hung from a ceiling as villagers gather underneath at Hatupangan village in North Sumatra. Getty Images
Stacy Diaz | 09 March, 2018, 13:52

Villagers in a remote Indonesian community, who believed a supernatural shapeshifter was hiding out in their community, killed an endangered Sumatran tiger, reports said Monday.

They later announced plans to kill the animal, despite warnings by conservation officials not to hurt the endangered cat. The animal had been roaming the Mandailing Natal village in North Sumatra for over a month and had injured one person.

Whenever an animal is added to the endangered species list, it's because the animal is becoming so rare that it's in danger of dying out, and such is the case with the endangered Sumatran tiger. Villagers thought it was a "siluman" or shape-shifter according to their superstitious beliefs which have references in the mythology.

Reportedly, the Sumatran tiger is a critically endangered animal and there are fewer than 400 of them remaining in the wild.

"We had talked to them, even involving the National Army [TNI] officers, but they still won't listen to us", said Hotmauli Sianturi, the head of the region's animal conservation agency.

"The tiger was sleeping under a resident's stilt house when the people struck him repeatedly in the abdomen with a spear", Lion Muslim Nasution, an official in the Batang Natal subdistrict - where the village is located - told the Jakarta Post.

Sianturi told Agence France-Presse that concerned residents "insisted on killing the tiger". The organisation states that the population is declining due to "habitat loss" from expanding oil palm plantations, "human-tiger conflict" and "illegal trade".

According to Reuters, there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers around the world and, according to WWF, the species is on the brink of extinction.

"After killing the animal, the locals hung up its body for display. Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives", the group stated.

Research has shown that many members, teeth, nails, skin from the head and tail have been missing from the body of the tiger, pieces that can be used in traditional "drugs" or sold in isolation.