Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Rare Sumatran Tiger Killed, Mutilated By Villagers Who Believed It Was Shapeshifter

Rare Sumatran Tiger Killed, Mutilated By Villagers Who Believed It Was Shapeshifter

A Sumatran tiger was killed and disembowelled by a remote Indonesian community because villagers thought it was a supernatural creature.

This picture taken on March 4 shows the carcass of a Sumatran tiger hung from a ceiling as villagers gather underneath at Hatupangan village in North Sumatra.

According to the Jakarta Post, superstitious villagers feared it was a "siluman", or shapeshifter, and when officials refused to kill it, the locals took matters into their own hands and made a decision to kill the endangered animal themselves.

A rare Sumatran tiger was speared to death by locals at a rural Indonesian village, despite warnings from authorities to leave it alone. According to the blog, superstitious villagers in the island nation tend to believe many stories about shape-shifters with supernatural powers that can turn into not only tigers but also cats, panthers, dogs and crocodiles.

"We explained to the villagers that the tiger is a threatened animal, but they did not like the way we handle the case", said a representative of the Natural Resources Protection Agency.

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Hotmauli Sianturi from the Natural Resources Conservation Agency said that conservationists urged the residents not to harm the animal, as a trap has been set to try to catch the tiger.

Presumably, the villagers who killed the endangered Sumatran tiger haven't even seen Supernatural, Grimm, or any of the other popular USA sci-fi shows featuring unusual creatures with special powers.

There are around 600 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

Reportedly, the tiger was sleeping under a resident's stilt house when the villagers attacked it with a spear. As well as poaching, the IUCN says that a loss of habitat due to expansive new plantations is a major threat to the several hundred extant animals. But despite increased efforts in tiger conservation - including strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching capacity - a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products. In 2015, AFP reported that four men in a village in Indonesia's Aceh province were taken into custody after killing a Sumatran tiger and attempting to sell its body parts.

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