Indonesian Villagers Killed Rare Tiger Because They Believed It Was a Shapeshifter

March 5, 2018 Updated: March 5, 2018

Remote Indonesian villagers who believed a shapeshifter was hiding out in their community killed a rare tiger.

Conservation officials said that the villagers then hung the Sumatran tiger’s body from the beams of a public gathering space in the city.

“Unfortunately they would not listen. They insisted on killing the tiger,” local conservation agency head Hotmauli Sianturi told Sky News.

“After killing the animal, the locals hung up its body for display. It’s very regrettable.”

A conservation officer tried stopping the villagers from killing the tiger but was held back. The tiger had injured at least one person recently, reported Reuters.

There are believed to be fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the world.

The tiger was sleeping under a resident’s stilt house when it was attacked.

Villagers surrounded the animals and plunged spears repeatedly into the tiger’s abdomen.

Batang Natal subdistrict head Lion Muslim Nasution told The Jakarta Post that villagers were aware that the tiger was endangered but feared that a shapeshifter had taken over its body.

The World Wildlife Fund said that Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies.

“The last of Indonesia’s tigers—as few as 400 today—are holding on for survival in the remaining patches of forests on the island of Sumatra. Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives,” the group stated.

“In Indonesia, anyone caught hunting tigers could face jail time and steep fines. But despite increased efforts in tiger conservation—including strengthening law enforcement and antipoaching capacity—a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products. Sumatran tigers are losing their habitat and prey fast, and poaching shows no sign of decline.”

Sianturi, of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency, said that her group is working on proving that the villagers traded some of the tiger’s body parts.

Body parts missing included canine teeth, claws, and skin off its face and tail.


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