Sumatran tigers keep Indonesian men trapped in a tree for five days

Lindsay Jolivet
The Duke Of Edinburgh Opens London Zoo's Tiger Territory
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Sumatran tiger Melati looks on in her enclosure during the opening of London Zoo's new Tiger Territory, a 3.6GBP million project to house Sumatran tigers Jae Jae and Melati, at ZSL London Zoo on March 20, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

A group of men who ventured into the Indonesian jungle last week in search of a rare wood found something much more dangerous — an angry group of Sumatran tigers who trapped them in trees for days.

The Associated Press reported six men from Aceh province on Sumatra Island had left their village to search for agarwood, a rare type of wood used for incense and perfume. The men said they set up deer traps in Gunung Leuser national park to catch food during their search, but on Thursday, one trap caught a tiger cub.

Several adult tigers followed, killing one man and sending the others scrambling into the trees, according to the BBC.

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The broadcaster reported the remaining five men called home for help using their cell phones, but their fellow villagers weren't able to contend with the grown tigers they found when they arrived. A group of police, soldiers, conservationists and other rescuers totaling 30 set out to find them on Saturday.

Reports initially said it could take up to three days to reach the trapped men. That's a long time to spend in the company of prowling tigers, but the Telegraph reported that help actually arrived on Sunday. Animal tamers chased away the tigers and rescued the men, who are weak but nearly home, according to reports.

There are an estimated 350 or 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, making these big cats endangered, in part from poaching and logging that shrinks their habitat.

At the same time, a police chief told the BBC that villagers continue to wander into the jungle in search of the coveted agarwood, risking their lives among many wild animals.

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