Tigers Prey On Sumatra Livestock
News / National / Article
Fidelis E. Satriastanti
February 10, 2009
Residents of Limapuluh Kota district in West Sumatra Province are overcome by fear of three tigers that have reportedly preyed on domestic livestock over the last two weeks, a local official said on Monday.
“The tigers, two of which were quite big, attacked three goats and one cow,” said Ferizal Ridwan, a member of the district council.
He said the tigers were regularly seen by residents of Lereh Sago Halaban village in the mornings and afternoons.
“The people here used to go to the fields from six in the morning until nightfall, but now they only go from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Ferizal said.
“They are also going to the farms in groups, so they can watch each other,” he said.
Indra Arinal, head of the West Sumatra Nature Conservancy Agency, said the unusual number of tiger attacks could be a sign of increasing human encroachment into the tigers’ habitat.
“There were only a few tiger attacks last year, but now the tigers are probably feeling threatened because we are slowly moving into their territories,” Indra said.
“There are too many forest conversion projects in the area, resulting in increased contact between humans and tigers.”
Indra said his office would wait another week before trying to relocate the tigers away from the village.
If the attacks continue, the agency would use traps to capture the tigers. Otherwise, they would try to scare the tigers away with loud noises, he said.
Ferizal said the tigers were not originally from Lereh Sago Halaban because they looked different compared to the local tigers.
“Local tigers have wider stripes,” he said.
The total population of Sumatran tigers in the wild is currently estimated at less than 500. The continuing loss of habitat, illegal trade and conflict with humans pose significant threats to their survival.