The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Sat, 01/31/2009 3:45 PM
Rare Sumatran tigers increasingly under threat as their jungle habitat shrinks have been blamed for deadly attacks on three Indonesian farmers, including the mauling of a father and son while they slept, officials said Friday.
The bodies were discovered over the past week within a 25-mile (40-kilometer) range on Jambi province, Sumatra, police chief Tedjo Dwikora said.
A 58-year-old father and his 21-year-old son were attacked in their sleep Wednesday in a hut near their village, while another man's body was found a week earlier in a nearby village, he said.
Two old tigers known to roam the area are believed to have carried out the killings, said local conservationist Didy Wurdjanto.
Fewer than 700 Sumatran tigers remain worldwide, according to estimates. The endangered animals are being forced to venture beyond traditional hunting grounds as rampant illegal logging, land clearing and commercial development eats into their jungle habitat. They are also threatened by poaching for the lucrative animal trade.
Only 20 such tigers still live in Sumatra's Jambi province on impoverished Indonesia's westernmost island, once a wildlife heartland.