Fri, 03 Jan 2003

Conservationists save wounded tiger

PEKANBARU, Riau: A man speared on Thursday a caged tigress that had allegedly killed a six-year-old child, but conservationists are working to save the wounded feline.

The tiger was speared in its back by the villager, but it survived the attack and is being treated by American veterinarian Susan Mikota in the province's capital of Pekanbaru.

"Her condition has improved," said the head of the local nature conservation unit, John Kennedie.

He said his team had caught the animal on Wednesday at Basilam Hilir village, in the city of Dumai.

An unidentified villager later approached the caged tigress and speared it from behind, apparently to avenge the death of a six-year-old child that people believe was killed by the feline.

Roaming tigers in the area reportedly killed four people throughout last year. Kennedie blamed the incidents on the animals' shrinking habitat due to a surge of illegal logging in the area.

Some of the tigers have been captured to be sent to Taman Safari in West Java. -- Antara.