The body of Karman Lubis, 32, was found in a rubber plantation in Ranto Panjang village on Tuesday, relatives of the victims said.
His head was separated from the body, Amiruddin Nasution, the uncle of the victim said.
Karman, who was a rubber sap tapper at the plantation, had been missing since Monday and a tiger had been seen roaming the area a few days earlier.
“Several days ago, there were several villagers who did indeed see a roaming tiger, but at the time the tiger did not attack. The wild animal did not attack maybe because there were many villagers,” Amiruddin said.
Amiruddin and the villagers said they believed a tiger killed Karman.
He said that he and other villagers went out to the plantation to look for Karman, who had failed to return home the day before.
“We immediately went to the rubber plantation and found the bloodied clothes of the victim. The headless body was found not far from the clothes,” Amiruddin said, adding that the head and the body were full of claw marks.
The incident has spread fear among villagers in Ranto Panjang, with many opting to remain home, for fear of being attacked by the prowling beast.
“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,” Darma Lubis, another villager, said.
Darma admitted that the human activities have increasingly encroached into the national park — a habitat for many wildlife species, including the threatened Sumatran tiger.
The Sumatran tiger is a subspecies that lives only in Sumatra and are estimated to number between 400 and 660 individuals.
Massive deforestation has been blamed for the increasing number of encounters with the endangered Sumatran tigers. (Jakarta Globe)