Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – A 42-year-old farmer was mauled to death by a Sumatran tiger in the encroached forest area of Mount Leuser National Park in Langkat regency, North Sumatra over the weekend.
The farmer, named Ramelan, was found by local people in Pir ADB village, Besitang district on Saturday evening at 11 p.m. in a severe condition.
Ramelan was a farmer who lived in the former encroached area located in Sei Lepan district within the National Park.
"The victim was mauled by a tiger in the encroached area in the park, the location used to be the habitat of Sumatran tigers," the park's spokesman Sudiro told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Besitang district head Ibnu Hajar confirmed that his resident died in a tiger attack. His office reported the incident to the Langkat regent. The victim's body was evacuated and laid to rest by his family on Sunday.
Pir ADB village chief Ilham Bhakti said Ramelan farmed in areas around Mt. Leuser National Park. He explained that the victim went to his farmland with his partner on Saturday morning. However, he had still not returned home by the evening, prompting local residents to launch a joint search around the Park area. Ilham said the victim was found with severe wounds to his head, hip and thighs.
Besitang police chief Adj. Comr. Adi Alfian said that before the incident, several residents had reported that they saw a tiger in the same location where Ramelan's body was found.
"In the afternoon before he was found dead, residents saw a tiger near the farm. We have not seen it again but we will push it back to its habitat to prevent further attacks," he said.
Habitat loss due to deforestation and land encroachment have fueled conflict between humans and the critically endangered big cat on Sumatra island. The Sumatran tiger, the only surviving species of the Sunda Islands tigers, has been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 2008.