Apriadi Gunawan and Nurni Sulaiman, Medan – The North Sumatra Forestry Agency has closed a hiking trail in a forested public park on Mount Sibayak, Karo regency, following Sumatran tiger sightings in the area.
Ramlan Barus, the park's technical unit head, said the trail would be closed indefinitely as of Friday. "We've closed the hiking trail to prevent human-wildlife conflict," Ramlan said in a statement on Friday.
He added that the park's management was coordinating with the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) to handle the tiger – or tigers – and prevent them from attacking residents and visitors.
North Sumatra BKSDA head Hotmauli Sianturi said the agency would work with the Forestry Agency to investigate the multiple sightings on the mountain since August.
"We're trying to locate the tiger through trap cameras. Hopefully, we can track him down soon so we prevent the worst outcomes," said Hotmauli.
Authorities have been receiving reports from residents about encounters with tigers for the past few months.
According to the management of the Bukit Barisan Great Forest Park in the regency, at least two reports were made of sightings between August and September. On Sept. 30, officials received a report that a tiger was chasing a visitor's car down a road in a forest near Mount Sibayak.
Bukit Barisan Park official Ashido AS Mulia Munthe noted that the tiger was sighted in the forest, which is the animal's habitat.
"So far, we have no cases of human-wildlife conflict, as long as we respect the animal," said Ashido.
He added that park officials were routinely patrolling the area, including in the evening. He said they had prepared firecrackers to repel tigers in case they threatened residents or visitors. (dpk)