Sumatran tiger kills farmer in Indonesia

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild. PHOTO: TAMBLING WILDLIFE NATURE CONSERVATION

PALEMBANG, INDONESIA (AFP) - A Sumatran tiger has killed an Indonesian farmer, police said on Friday (Dec 13), in the third fatal attack by the critically endangered species in less than a month.

The 55-year-old was set upon by the big cat at a coffee plantation in South Sumatra province on Thursday.

The authorities said the dead man's companion screamed in vain to warn him about the approaching predator.

"All of sudden, the tiger pounced on the victim," local police chief Ferry Harahap told AFP on Friday.

The deadly attack comes just a week after a tiger killed another farmer in nearby Pagaralam.

Tigers mauled to death another coffee farmer and seriously injured two Indonesian tourists in separate incidents in the province last month.

Local conservation agency official Martialis Puspito blamed human encroachment on the endangered animal's habitat for the spate of attacks, adding that residents were being warned to steer clear of the wilderness.

"We cannot drive out the tigers because the jungles are their habitat so it's people who have to stay out of there," he said.

Human-animal conflicts are common in the vast South-east Asian archipelago, especially in areas where the clearing of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations is destroying animal habitats.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild.

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