JAKARTA, Jan 23 (dpa): Villagers on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra are on alert after a critically endangered Sumatran tiger was spotted on a closed-circuit television, local media has reported.
State news agency Antara reported that a closed-circuit television installed in a local shop in the region of Siak captured the big cat passing by in front of the building early on Saturday morning.
The tiger’s appearance came after locals reported finding tiger paw prints near a densely populated residential area in the Suak Lanjut village on Monday. A villager also claimed to have seen a tiger prowling near a watermelon farm on Friday night.
Local wildlife officials said the feline is believed to be a young tiger, based on their observation of the paw prints.
Local conservation agency representative, Hartono, said the tiger could have come from Zamrud national park, a local protected forest area about 6.2 kilometers away from the area where the tiger was prowling.
There were no reports of any livestock being eaten by the tiger following its appearance, he added.
A team of conservationists have set up a trap cage with a prey to lure the tiger. Camera traps and a drone were also set up to monitor the tiger’s location.
Villagers in Sumatra, especially those living in protected forest areas, are prone to conflicts with tigers as massive deforestation and human encroachment have shrunk Sumatran tigers’ natural habitat.
Sumatran tigers are also prone to poaching and carrying out retaliatory killings following clashes with humans.
An estimated 603 Sumatran tigers still live in their natural habitat, according to an official from Indonesia’s forestry and environment ministry.
The Sumatran tiger is the last surviving tiger sub-species that still exists in Indonesia, while the Balinese and Javanese tigers have been declared extinct.