Chiang Mai Villagers Believe Deadly Tiger is on the Prowl

 | Thu 2 Oct 2014 18:12 ICT

CityNews – Fearful residents of a village in Chiang Mai’s Phrao district believe a deadly tiger is responsible for killing their cattle.

The carcass of a cow believed to have been killed by a tiger. Photo: Sri Lanna National Park.

Two cows and a buffalo are thought to have been killed by the beast in a forested area where they were allowed to graze, five kilometres from the village of Ban Huaysan in Sansai sub-district. Villagers say their wounds were consistent with an attack by a tiger.

Officials from Sri Lanna National Park inspected the scene two days ago and found the dead cows and buffalo footprints. The head of the park, Yotsawat Thiansawat, said on Monday that officials cannot say with certainty that the beast is a tiger, although he couldn’t rule out the possibility. Another suggestion is that a group of hyenas might be responsible for the attacks, he said.

It is not unusual for wildlife to hunt prey in the national park, he pointed out, adding that the villagers had trespassed on its land and should not let their cattle wander in the area. Villagers commonly let their cattle graze in the forest from October to January.

Village headman Wichian Chailun said he had inspected the forest with villagers and found large footprints, 16cm in width, which they are sure is from a deadly tiger.

He had been informed by residents of nearby villages that their cattle had also been killed in the same way. This was the first time this kind of thing had happened in the area, he said.

Kamolchai Kotcha, director of the Chiang Mai office of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said the presence of a tiger in the forest would indicate that it can support other large, flesh-eating animals.

Officials will not consider killing a tiger, he said. If one is caught, it might be taken to another area, far from human habitation. Villagers will not be allowed to keep their animals in the forest, he added.

Indochinese tigers are found in Southeast Asia and parts of China, according to the group Tigers in Crisis. Their total population is estimated at fewer than 300.