Sumatran tiger kills 5-year-old in western Indonesia

November 7th, 2011 - 6:07 pm ICT by BNO News  

JAKARTA (BNO NEWS) — A young girl was killed during the weekend when she was attacked by a Sumatran tiger while playing outside her house in western Indonesia, local media reported on Monday.

The tiger attack happened on Saturday morning when a 5-year-old girl was playing with her two elder siblings outside their house near Cirebon Baru village, which is located in Kepahiang regency in Southwest Sumatra. Their parents were not at home.

“The victim was playing with her two elder siblings outside their house when suddenly a tiger emerged from the wood and attacked her,” said Southwest Sumatra Natural Resources Conservancy Agency (BKSDA) head Supartono, as quoted by the Jakarta Post.

Supartono said the siblings of the girl, who was identified as Fitria binti Judin, ran about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) to Cirebon Baru village to get help as they did not know where their parents were. When they later returned, Fitria was dead and was missing her left leg.

“She was already lifeless when found, while the tiger had retreated to the woods,” Supartono said, according to the newspaper. “The residents immediately evacuated the victim and brought her to their village for burial.”

The Jakarta Post said the plantation where the family lives may be located in a protected forest known as the Bukit Daun. It said officers will attempt to capture the tiger and take it to a conservation area if it is found the plantation is outside the protected area.

While tiger attacks on humans are rare, the number has been increasing due to forest destruction in the region. Environmentalists have expressed grave concern as Indonesia’s tiger population in the Sumatran jungle has been reduced to only 400, Greenpeace reported in October.

Illegal logging and plantations have been signaled as the main problem facing the tigers. According to the government of Indonesia, each year approximately 1 million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest is being cleared. The devastating rate is likely to soon drive the Sumatran tiger into extinction unless urgent action is taken.

As the natural habitat of the tigers is being destroyed, the animals are being forced out of their areas and are often seen in villages in search of food or shelter. This has increased tensions among tigers and locals.

Increasing population and the subsequent need for agricultural plantation such as rice paddies previously drove Indonesia’s other two tiger sub-species into complete extinction. In the 1930s, the Bali tiger became extinct due to hunting and deforestation and in the 1970s the Javan tiger suffered the same fate, leaving the Sumatran tiger as the sole tiger sub-species in the country.

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