Endangered Sumatran tiger falls victim to brutal killing spree

FILE PHOTO: Evidence of preserved tigers burned for destruction at the Office of Natural Resources Conservation in Palembang, Indonesia, February 7, 2018. Antara Foto/Feny Selly/File Photo via REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A critically endangered Sumatran tiger was brutally killed in Indonesia on Sunday, the latest victim of a killing spree targeting near-extinct species that has alarmed conservationists.

Authorities have in recent months found a number of killed animals, including endangered Borneo orangutans, after conflicts with farmers or plantation workers.

Activists said the tiger had been roaming Mandailing Natal village in North Sumatra for over a month and had injured one person, prompting residents to call on rangers to kill it.

“We explained to the villagers that the tiger is an endangered animal...but they didn’t like our way of handling this situation,” said Hotmauli Sianturi, of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency, adding a trap had been used to try to capture the cat.

“We regret that they killed the tiger. We will prove that its body parts are being traded,” she added.

An investigation showed it had several parts missing, including its canine teeth, claws, and skin off its face and tail. These body parts can be used in traditional medicines or sold as artefacts.

A representative of the village community was not immediately available for comment.

There are only around 400 Sumatran tigers left in the world, meaning it is on the brink of extinction, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Police on Borneo island arrested at least two people in two separate incidents this year in which an orangutan had been decapitated and another had been shot more than 130 times with an air rifle.

Reporting by Jessica Damiana, Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Nick Macfie