PEKANBARU, Indonesia — A rare Sumatran tiger killed a woman working at a palm oil plantation in western Indonesia, the latest human-tiger conflict in an area hit bit widespread deforestation, police said Friday.
Local police chief Muhammad Rafi said the tiger mauled the 33-year-old worker on Wednesday in Indragiri Hilir, a district in Riau province.
Rafi said the tiger ran abruptly into the plantation owned by PT Tabung Haji Indo Plantation, causing the woman and two colleagues who were collection data on pests to run in panic.
He said the three climbed a nearby palm oil tree but the tiger managed to pull the victim to the ground where she was mauled to death.
“The two survivors saw how the tiger mauled her to death but they could not do anything to help her,” Rafi said. “It was a tragic conflict between human and animal.”
Indonesia is home to some 400 Sumatran tigers, but they are increasingly under threat as their jungle habitat shrinks.
As their habitat diminishes, many of the endangered animals roam into villages or plantations in search of food, setting off conflict with humans.
Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies. About 400 remain, down from 1,000 in the 1970s, because of forest destruction and poaching.
On Thursday, an Indonesian court in Medan, another part of Sumatra island, sentenced Ismail Sembiring, a tiger hunter, to two years in jail. The defendant was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine or have three more months in jail added to his sentence.