Sumatran tigers held a group of five Indonesian men hostage for five days, forcing the men to climb trees after the animals killed one of their companions.
Rescuers on Monday were finally able to reach the men, who were weakened after spending several days hiding among the branches of the trees.
“I received a report from rescuers that they have just evacuated the men after tamers managed to drive away the tigers,” said First Lt. Surya Purba. “They are all in weak condition.”
Because the men had traveled far into the Indonesian wilderness, it took search crews three days to reach the rugged area in Leuser National Park in Tamiang, located near the North Sumatra province.The men were looking for a rare plant used to make incense and perfume last week when they set a trap to catch deer for food. The trap instead captured a tiger cub, prompting the animal’s mother to attack.
The mother tiger killed one of the men after a branch he was holding snapped, while the attack attracted five other Sumatran tigers to the area to attack the men. The surviving members of the group scrambled to safety in the trees, using mobile phones to alert villagers to their situation.
Sumatran tigers are considered the most endangered of all tiger species. Only about 400 remain after their numbers were slashed due to poaching and destruction of their natural home by deforestation.
The men were able to drink rainwater to survive.
By the time rescuers arrived, three of the seven Sumatran tigers had run away. But the group of 30 rescuers were afraid to approach the angry tigers, so they called in three local animal trainers.
“The rescue team stood back while the tamers approached the animals and chanted some mantras,” district police chief Dicky Sondani told AFP.4.
The Sumatran tigers eventually left, Sondani added.