Tigers keep five men on tree for three days in Indonesia

Jakarta, July 8 (IANS/EFE) Five men spent three days on a tree in Indonesia to escape from a group of tigers that had killed and eaten a sixth member of the group, media reports said Sunday.

The group, residents of Simpang Kiri in Aceh province, on the northern part of the island of Sumatra, Thursday entered the densely forested Gunung Leuser National Park, where they were attacked by a group of tigers after they accidentally killed a tiger cub with a trap meant for deer.

A group of about 30 people Saturday went to rescue the five men after they used their cell phones to inform others of their predicament. The rescuers managed to chase the four tigers away, local police chief Dicky Sondani told The Jakarta Globe.

"It might need two or three days to walk on foot to the depths of Leuser jungle," the police chief said. "If the tigers are still under the tree, we will have to shoot and anesthetize them so that we can rescue the five (men)."

The men who took refuge in the tree entered the park to collect aromatic wood, which is used in the preparation of perfumes, aromatic oils and incense and grows in the park jungle, which is inhabited by protected and threatened species such as tigers, elephants and orangutans.

"It's worse this time because there are tigers waiting for the villagers," Dicky said.

"People keep entering the jungle to look for alim wood because it's very expensive; up to Rp 5 million ($505) per kilogram. But, well, that's the risk; there are many tigers and elephants in Gunung Leuser's jungle."

Tiger attacks on Sumatra have risen due to the sharp increase in the number of palm oil and pulp plantations that reduce the natural habitat of the felines and push them into zones inhabited by people.

It is estimated that more than 100 Sumatran tigers live in the Gunung Leuser park.

--IANS/EFE

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