Tigers Maul Man to Death, Trap 5 Others in Tree: Help Not Expected Until Wednesday

Five Indonesian men have been trapped in the top of a tree for the past five days and surrounded by Sumatran tigers, authorities say, and it could take another two or three days before help can arrive to rescue them.

Six men were reportedly in the national park, looking for wood to make incense and setting traps for deer. A tiger cub ended up in the trap, and its cries drew the attention of several adult Sumatran tigers; they chased down and caught one of the men and mauled him to death.

The remaining five men managed to scramble up a tree and call for help using their cell phones. At least four tigers remained at the base of the tree, circling and preventing help from reaching the men. Experts have been called in but will likely not arrive until Wednesday.

"We are worried because they could be weak and fall from the trees due to a lack of food," a member of the rescue team told the Guardian.

"It might need two or three days to walk on foot to the depths of the jungle," Police Chief Dicky Sondani told the BBC. "If the tigers remain under the tree, we may have to shoot or sedate them to rescue the five people."

Sondani noted that people continually enter the forest to collect the wood needed for incense without thinking of the potential risk posed by wild animals.

"People keep entering the jungle to look for the wood because it's very expensive," Sondani explained, "but that's the risk. There are many tigers and elephants in Gunung Leuser jungle."

The Sumatran tigers are an endangered species, with only 350 in the wild. The largest population lives in the Gunung Leuser jungle, making them a particularly dangerous threat to humans.

The Leuser jungle is home to the Samatran tigers, orangutans, elephants, rhinos, and leopards that are all protected by the country.