First Responders Set Out to Rescue 5 Men Trapped in Tree by Big Cats in Sumatra
A group of Indonesian men spent four days trapped in a tree while Sumatran tigers paced in circles around the tree. The men were hunting
for rare wood used to make incense but this is not what provoked the tigers. These men accidentally killed a tiger cub in a trap set to catch antelope and deer for food. The tigers were relentless seeking revenge killing a sixth man and waiting for the remaining five to come down from the tree.
A team of 30 rescuers, including police and soldiers, dispatched to help the men deep in the jungle in the north of Sumatra arrived to find the critically endangered tigers still circling the tree. This team did not dare approach, but called in three local animal tamers. Eventually the tigers left the tree and the men were rescued.
This took place in Sumatra, home of the Sumatran tiger, where cases of animal-human conflict are increasing due to extensive logging chewing up the big cats’ natural habitat. The Sumatran tiger is the world’s smallest tiger and the team of 30 rescuers would not approach the tigers without an additional team of animal trainers skilled at diverting the tigers’ attention. And this happened in Sumatra, where both the tigers and the first responders both live.
First Responders Bear the Burden of the Big Cat Crisis in the United States Too.
First responders bear the burden of the big cat crisis in the United States too but this country is not home to wild tigers. There are an estimated 10,000- 20,000 big cats kept as pets in backyards, basements and roadside zoos throughout the United States. Sadly, the U.S. is thought to be home to more captive tigers than are found in the wild. Exact numbers are not known so there is no way of knowing how many big cats are being kept in private hands and under what conditions.