The Jakarta Post, Zakki Hakim, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Sun, 02/22/2009 3:00 PM
Endangered killer: An Indonesian park ranger pours a bucket of water into a trap in which a wild Sumatran tiger that is believed to have killed three people is caught, at a palm plantation in Sungai Gelam, Jambi province, Indonesia, on Feb. 11, 2009. Another Sumatran tiger mauled two more men to death early Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009, bringing to five the number of people killed by the critically endangered cats in less than a month, a conservationist said Sunday. AP/Irwin Fedriansyah
A Sumatran tiger mauled two illegal loggers to death in Sumatra, bringing to five the number of people killed by the critically endangered cats in less than a month, a conservationist said Sunday.
The tiger attacked a 50-year-old man and his 18-year-old son early Saturday while they slept next to a pile of stolen wood in a protected forest on Sumatra island, said Didy Wurdjanto of the state conservation agency.
Three people were killed in two separate attacks in late January in the same area. Park rangers last week trapped an adult tigress believed responsible for those deaths and it was being relocated.
The Sumatran tiger is the world's most critically endangered tiger subspecies. Only about 250 are left in the wild, the Forestry Ministry said, compared to about 1,000 in the 1970s.
The tigers' diminishing population is blamed largely on poaching and the destruction of their forest habitat for palm oil and wood pulp plantations.
In some cases the animals roam into villages or plantations in search of food, setting the stage for a conflict with humans.
In the latest attack, however, the animal had not strayed from its habitat so there will be no effort to catch and relocate it, Wurdjanto said. "This time it was the loggers fault," he said.
About 40 people were killed by tigers on Sumatra in 2000-2004, according to the state conservation agency, which said the trend has continued since then. New figures are to be released in April.