Tabanan Tiger Sighting Has Locals Worried

TABANAN

A tiger is believed to have attacked dogs and killed a goat on farms in Tabanan regency, sparking fear among local people and leading to extra measures to secure livestock.

The Bali tiger – a smaller animal even than the Sumatran tiger – is officially extinct, the last one having been shot in 1937. But the new sighting, by a Tabanan local who says the animal came very close to him and who saw the goat said to have been killed as prey by the tiger, has authorities wondering what to do and whether it is a lone animal, a former pet released into the wild or a chance sighting of a hitherto unsuspected breeding population.

They have asked the Bali Safari and Marine Park, in Gianyar, which houses Sumatran tigers in captivity, for help. The park told The Bali Times this week it was waiting to see what the authorities would ask them to do.

Eyewitness I Made Pariawan Mardika, 37, of Dauh Siong in the West Selemadeg area, said he saw a tiger attacking his dog on Wednesday last week. He described the tiger as being about one metre tall and estimated it weighed around 70 kilograms.

He said he had been cutting grass for fodder about 200 metres from his home at 9am that day when his two dogs, which always went with him, suddenly disappeared.

When he went back to the field at 11am to call them he heard yelping from a nearby clearing and saw “red-orange tiger with yellow accents and black stripes” biting his dog’s hindquarters.

The tiger had run off into nearby forest when he appeared. The colouring and size matches the dimensions of the Bali tiger thought to be extinct.

Mardika said none of his dogs will now accompany him to the fields.

In a separate incident, a goat was found dead in another field at Dauh Siong, apparently slain as prey by a large-toothed animal.

Police, local security guards and officers from the Bali Conservation Agency are searching a wide area for evidence of any tiger presence.

Some years ago conservationists reportedly released tigers in West Bali.

• An 18-year-old youth working in a rubber plantation in Riau, on Sumatra, was killed by a tiger last Monday. Provincial conservation agency head Danis Woro said the youth, Ahmad Rafi, was found badly mauled in the plantation at Rokan Hilir and died soon after.

“This is the first tiger attack in Riau this year,” Woro said. “The area used to be a tiger habitat but now it has become a plantation area.”

The environmental group WWF says there are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

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