KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – An indigenous Malaysian villager has been killed in a tiger attack, with government rangers shooting dead the critically endangered creature after it also charged them, authorities said.
The 59-year-old victim, Anek Along, was attacked on Friday near the town of Gua Musang in the northern Malaysian state of Kelantan.
The 120-kilogramme creature then rushed to other villagers who threw spears to fend the creature off, wounding its face, according to wildlife officials.
Rangers arrived a few hours later and shot dead the tiger after it charged them.
Kelantan Wildlife Department director Mohamad Hafid Rohani told AFP authorities were “sad” they were forced to kill the creature “as tigers (in Malaysia) are dying out”.
The Malayan tiger is classified as critically endangered by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
WWF Malaysia estimates there are fewer than 200 of the animals still left in the wild.
Attacks on humans by the tiger are rare, but such incidents have been known to occur in areas where developments encroach on the animals’ habitat.
In mid-July, rangers captured a female tiger near Gua Musang after it attacked and seriously injured a local.
Some 3,000 Malayan tigers once roamed the country’s jungles in the 1950s, and the big cat is regarded as Malaysia’s national animal.
However, its population declined over the decades due to a loss of habitat from development and agricultural expansion, as well as poaching.