Angered by cub's deathWe often write about the impact of humans (poachers, habitat destruction, etc) on endangered animals, but this story is a bit different. Deep in the jungle of Indonesia, a group of men were looking for a rare type of wood to make incense (it's not clear what kind of wood it was or if it's a protected species, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt). Problems began after they accidentally killed a tiger cub with a trap designed to catch antelopes and deer for food (that's the official story anyway -- we'll give them the benefit of the doubt again, but if they were poachers, they had their lesson); a group of adult Sumatran tigers, which are considered 'critically endangered' by the IUCN Red List, decided that the men looked like dinner and chased them, killing one and leaving the five others trapped in a tree for 4 days.
A team of 30 rescuers, including police and soldiers, reached the men deep in the jungle in the north of Sumatra island on Sunday – to find the ravenous tigers still circling the tree.
They did not dare approach, so called in three local animal tamers.
"The rescue team stood back while the tamers approached the animals and chanted some mantras," district police chief Dicky Sondani told AFP. "The tigers eventually just left."
They probably left because tigers are generally afraid of humans - except maybe when defending their cubs - and not because of the mantas, but in any case, the men were rescued. They were very scared and dehydrated (surviving on rainwater alone), but alive.
It is estimated that there are only 400-500 Sumatran tigers still alive in the wild, and unfortunately, humans are encroaching more and more on their habitat, especially because of logging (legal and illegal).