Hotli Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Banda Aceh | Archipelago | Thu, October 04 2012, 8:14 AM
Big cat’s demise: Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) officials in Banda Aceh on Wednesday carry the carcass of a tiger that died during a commercial flight from the Aceh provincial capital to East Java on Tuesday. An autopsy showed the 7-year-old tiger, captured in 2010 after allegedly eating a southern Aceh resident, suffered bruises in the face and a broken leg. The cause of the animal’s death is still under investigation. (Antara/Irwansyah Putra)A Sumatran tiger died on Wednesday as it was about to be relocated by plane from Banda Aceh to the Jatim Park II 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 on Wednesday.
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 Affan.
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,” Affan 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 Affan.
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.”