An animal taming rescue team has saved a group of men who were trapped up trees for five days by an angry family of Sumatran tigers.
Five men were helped down from branches where they had survived on rain water as the endangered animals circled beneath them.
A sixth man was mauled to death. The 28-year-old sought refuge with his companions but, police said, “the branch broke, causing him to fall to the ground”.
The group was out on Thursday in the remote, protected Mount Leuser National Park in Indonesia, searching for rare agar wood that can be sold to make incense and perfumes.
While using a trap to catch deer for food, they unwittingly caught a tiger cub instead. This enraged its mother, and caused five more of the animals to join in an attack on the foragers.
From the relative safety of the trees, the men used text messages to ask villagers for help.
And after a three-day trek to find the trapped men they rounded up a rescue team of soldiers, policemen, conservationists and three animal tamers.
By the time they arrived, four of the tigers had moved away, and the tamers were successfully able to drive off the remaining three.
First Lt. Surya Purba told reporters today: “I received a report from rescuers that they have just evacuated the men. They are all in weak condition.”
Leuser Park, in the Indonesian district of Aceh which borders northern Sumatra, is a dangerous place to search for natural resources. As well as tigers, it is home to leopards, rhinos, elephants and orang-utans.
There are only around 400 Sumatran tigers left in the world. It is the most critically endangered subspecies, with numbers down from 1,000 in the 1970s, and is struggling in the face of forest destruction and poaching.