Indonesia men safe after five-day Sumatran tiger ordeal

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, The national park is along the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces

Five men have been rescued in an Indonesian national park after spending five days trapped in trees surrounded by Sumatran tigers, officials say.

Dozens of rescuers, including police, arrived at the Mount Leuser National Park on Sumatra Island to help the men.

They moved in after tamers managed to drive the tigers away, reports say.

Several tigers attacked the group on Thursday after they accidentally killed a tiger cub. A sixth man died in the initial incident.

Andi Basrul, head of the national park, said the survivors were being transported to the nearest village, which normally takes six hours on foot.

Jamal Gayo, from the conservation group Leuser International Foundation, said the five were weak after not having had food for three days.

The men had initially alerted nearby villagers using mobile phones. Villagers tried to rescue the men on Thursday, but retreated when they saw at least four large Sumatran tigers circling the base of the tree.

Officials had said it would take time before they could get to the park, which covers nearly 7,930 sq km (3,060 sq miles) along the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces.

Earlier reports said the group, all from Simpang Kiri village in Aceh Tamiang district, had set up deer traps for food, but accidentally caught a tiger cub.

The injured animal drew nearby tigers, who then pounced on the men and killed a 28-year-old only identified as David.

The smallest of all tigers, Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species only found on the Indonesian island.

As few as 350 remain in the wild due to forest destruction and poaching, of which the largest population lives in the Gunung Leuser national park.

More on this story