Conservation officials in a remote village in Indonesia stated that the villagers were concerned and fearful that there was a shapeshifter hiding out in their community and as such, they killed and disemboweled a rare Sumatran tiger on Sunday just because they thought or believed that it had supernatural powers.
Photos of the critically endangered species were released on Sunday showing the bloodied carcass hanging from beams with people gathering all around it in Hatupangan in north Sumatra.
In an interview with Sky News, the regional head of Indonesia’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency stated that he tried to warn them not to kill the endangered big cat but they wouldn’t listen. They went ahead to kill it and hung the body up for display – a very regrettable act.
According to Reuters, the body parts can be used for medicinal purposes and can be sold on the black market. Perhaps that is why the tiger was missing its canine teeth, skin off its face, claws, and tail when the authorities investigated the killing. They eventually discovered that the missing parts were the parts that could either be sold on the black market and or used to make medicine. They garnered that the tiger already injured one villager and was prowling in the area for over a month before it was eventually hunted and killed.
An official of the Batang Natal sub-district where it happened, Lion Muslim Nasution told Jakarta Post that the tiger was sleeping under resident silt when the people found it and struck it repeatedly in the stomach with a spear. Two villagers were seriously injured in the process and this activity was carried out despite the repeated warnings against it by the conservation officials.
He went on to say that the villagers were more interested in the rumors and fears that it was a shapeshifter even though most were aware of the endangered status of the big cat. There was no obvious sign that made the villagers believe that the cat could be anything more than an ordinary big cat but they killed it anyway.
According to World Wildlife Fund, this species is estimated to have a surviving population of just 400 roaming the wild. There are serious fines and possibly jail time in Indonesia for people caught hunting tigers as pointed out in a section of the organization’s website.
Despite the increased law enforcement and efforts on the part of the tiger conservation authorities and anti-poaching authorities as well, there are still major markets in Sumatra and the rest of Asia where they deal on tiger parts and products.
She noted that they explained to the villagers that the tiger is an endangered species and that measures have been put in place to stop people from poaching but the manner in which things were handled was seen to be repulsive by the villagers.
H/T: New York Post