A male Sumatran tiger was killed on Sunday with a spear in Hatupangan village of Batang Natal subdistrict, North Sumatra, and its disemboweled body hung from the public hall's ceiling on Sunday morning, after residents thought it was a siluman (shapeshifter).
It is not only lack of awareness and a lack of rangers that the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) have to deal with to preserve the endangered Sumatran tiger, but they must also eradicate the siluman superstition.
"The tiger was sleeping under a resident's stilt house when the people struck him repeatedly in the abdomen with a spear," said Batang Natal subdistrict head Lion Muslim Nasution on Sunday to The Jakarta Post.
Lion added that the residents were actually aware of its endangered status; however, they had heard rumors and feared that a siluman had been lingering in the village for over a month.
North Sumatra BKSDA head Hotmauli Sianturi said her agency had tried to prevent the killing days before. "We had talked to them [the residents], even involving the National Army [TNI] officers, but they still won't listen to us," she said.
Meanwhile, Gunung Gea, the executive director of the Scorpion Foundation regretted the incident, saying it was barbaric behavior from the residents to kill and hang the remains in the public hall.
"The case must be handled as soon as possible by the authorities," said Gea on Sunday.
The Sumatran tiger population currently stands no more than 600, according to the official estimate from the Environment and Forestry Ministry. Meanwhile, a report in Nature Communication Journal estimated that there were 618 adults in 2012, or a 20 percent drop from the 742 in 2000.