The team members were dispatched from the Minas Elephant Training Center to ensure that the incident had indeed occurred in Rantau Bertuah Village, Minas Sub-district, as reported by local residents, the agency's head, Heru Sutmantoro, informed journalists here on Tuesday.
The villagers found carcasses of two baby cows. It is assumed that they had been attacked by the hungry Sumatran tigers, he remarked, adding that his team's members had coordinated with local police and military officers, as well as the village authorities, and owners of the dead cows.
He noted that after examining the footsteps inside the concession area of PT Arara Abadi around a kilometer away from the village, the team members confirmed that the Sumatran tigers were behind the attack.
The villagers also reported to have lost four cows, but two carcasses had, so far, been discovered, while two other cows were yet missing, he remarked, adding that the owners might have left the cows there to graze on the grass inside the plantation company's area.
The human-tiger conflicts continue to occur in Sumatra Island.
In 2019, the South Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) had confirmed 15 tiger attacks in South Sumatra Province that resulted in the deaths of five people and injuries of 10 others.
From November to December 2019, the conservation office had investigated six reports of tiger attacks. Hasibuan stated that the first attack took place on November 16, 2019, in which a 19-year-old tourist had got injured.
Following the incident, a Sumatran tiger also attacked a 58-year-old farmer in Lahat District that resulted in fatal injuries.
In the third report of human-tiger conflict on December 2, another farmer was injured, and he had witnessed a mother tiger and her cub at the location of the incident in Rimba Candi Village, Pagaralam City, South Sumatra Province.
ANTARA noted that in Indonesia, Sumatran tigers (Pantera Tigris Sumatrae) were the only surviving tiger species, as the country had already lost two sub-species of tigers to extinction: the Bali tiger that became extinct in 1937 and the Javan tiger in the 1970s.
Sumatran tigers, the smallest of all tiger species, are currently a critically endangered species only found on Sumatra Island, Indonesia’s second-largest island.
The tigers are on the brink of extinction owing to deforestation, poaching, and conflicts between wild animals and local people owing to their dwindling habitats.
The exact figure of Sumatran tigers left in the wild is ambiguous, though the latest estimates range, from under 300 to possibly 500 at 27 locations, including in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, Tesso Nilo Park, and Gunung Leuser National Park.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), their numbers have decreased, from some one thousand in the 1970s.
The 2009 report by the forestry ministry points to conflict with humans beings being the biggest threat to conservation. The report cited that on average, five to 10 Sumatran tigers have been killed yearly since 1998.
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