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Sumatran tiger kills man working at Indonesian plantation


A Royal Bengal tiger splashes into a pond at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on April 23, 2010.



A Sumatran tiger is suspected to be responsible for killing and dismembering a 32-year-old cocoa plantation worker in Sumatra, a member of one of the most critically endangered tiger subspecies on the planet.

Karman Lubis was found decapitated near the plantation where he worked on March 12, leading villagers to conclude that one of Sumatra's increasingly scarce tigers was responsible for the killing, wrote AFP.

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Karman had been missing since March 11, while a tiger had reportedly been in the area, wrote the Jakarta Globe, leading villagers to conclude the animal had killed him.

“Some of the people here are scared and it has been jointly agreed to form a group to conduct surveillance on the village to anticipate attacks by the tiger who is looking for new prey,” said Ranto Panjang villager Darma Lubis to the Jakarta Globe.

"Given the body's condition, he could have been attacked by a bear, a clouded leopard or a tiger," said a national park staff member to AFP of the animal attackers identity, noting that no witnesses actually saw the tiger kill Karman.

According to SkyNews, the same tiger is thought to have attacked five other villagers in Jambi province, leading villagers to call for the animal's death. The government hopes to capture and release the tiger elsewhere instead.

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What makes Sumatran tigers special? The world's most diminutive tiger subspecies, these big cats are native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are thought to number only 400 to 500 in the wild, rendering them critically endangered.

The Sumatran tiger's jungle habitat is increasingly threatened by deforestation and human encroachment, making encounters — sometimes fatal — with humans much more likely. 

The tigers are often hunted for their body parts and coats, notes the WWF, and is in danger of being driven to extinction by "rampant" poaching, like the now vanished Javanese and Balinese tiger subspecies.