Indonesia: Villagers Kill Rare Tiger Thinking It Was a Shapeshifter

A rare Sumatran tiger was killed on Sunday by an Indonesian community as they believed it was a shapeshifter hiding out in their village

The group of villagers were becoming afraid that a shapeshifter is putting their community in danger, hiding out in their village. Moreover, they strongly believed that it harnessed supernatural powers, according to conservation officials.

The rare animal was put down in cold blood and hanged from beams located above a public gathering space in Hatupangan, north Sumatra.

“Unfortunately they would not listen. They insisted on killing the tiger,” Hotmauli Sianturi, the regional head of Indonesia’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency said. “After killing the animal, the locals hung up its body for display. It’s very regrettable.”

Authorities responsible for investigation the killing have discovered that the tiger was missing canine teeth, claws and skin off its face and tail, all of which can be used in medicine or sold in the black market.

Activists declare that the tiger had been prowling in the area for over a month. Even more, it injured one person before it was tracked down and killed.

“The tiger was sleeping under a resident’s stilt house when the people struck him repeatedly in the abdomen with a spear,” Lion Muslim Nasution, an official in the Batang Natal subdistrict said.

The killing attack on Sunday left two villagers seriously injured and took place despite the numerous warnings from conservation officials.

Nasution added that locals knew that the animal carried an endangered species status, but were overcome by rumors and fears that a shapeshifter was hiding out in the village.

“In Indonesia, anyone caught hunting tigers could face jail time and steep fines,” the organization said. “But despite increased efforts in tiger conservation—including strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching capacity—a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products.”