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Sumatran tiger dies during aircraft transport to Jakarta

Publication Date : 04-10-2012


A Sumatran tiger died yesterday as it was about to be relocated by plane from Indonesia's Banda Aceh to the Jatim Park II conservation in East Java.

The endangered animal was found dead less than an hour after it was loaded onto a Garuda Airlines plane from Banda Aceh to Jakarta.

"During transit in Medan, North Sumatra, the tiger, together with several consigned animals were returned to Aceh without any excuse from Garuda," Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (Bksda) sub-administrative division head Affan Absori said yesterday.

The six-year-old tiger, named Tengku Agam, was captured in South Aceh regency in 2010 after it was reported to have mauled a farmer. It was later transferred to the Aceh Bksda office.

"We planned to relocate it on the recommendation of the Natural Conservation and Forest Protection Directorate General and release it into the wild in the Jatim Park II conservation area," said Absori.

The tiger was en route to Jakarta and was scheduled to resume its journey to Surabaya, East Java, on Tuesday. Yet, during transit in Medan, after a 50-minute flight from Banda Aceh, Garuda authorities returned the tiger and the other animals to Banda Aceh. "According to Garuda, passengers complained about a stench in the plane, and it returned the animals to Banda Aceh," Absori said.

The Aceh Bksda regretted that Garuda had returned the animals to Aceh without coordinating with animal escort personnel. Bksda only learned that the tiger had been returned to Banda Aceh after the animal escort arrived in Jakarta.

Bksda found the wild tiger dead after inspecting its cage. "Its right cheek was bruised. Its mouth, eyes and ears emitted blood. We also found its right foreleg joints dislocated," said Absori.

Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) activist T Muhammad Zulfikar expressed deep regret over the death of the rare and protected animal species. "We deeply regret [the incident]. The death of this animal should be investigated immediately," said Zulfikar.

He added that Walhi had not received any information or confirmation from Bksda on the planned relocation of the animals.

Contacted separately, Garuda's general manager for Aceh, Dwi Kusbiantoro, said, "We are still clarifying and investigating the case with our team. Hopefully, we can shed some light on the incident. We will later provide more information."


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