Rare Sumatran tiger dies in transit after air passengers complain he smells

Stock image/PA

A rare Sumatran tiger has died while being transported by plane in Indonesia, according to AFP reports.

The critically endangered animal, named Tengku Agam, was being flown with a gibbon and two bearcats on a commercial flight from Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra island to a conservation centre in East Java.

But during a scheduled stopover in Medan, Sumatra, the airline, Garuda Indonesia, decided to unload the animals and fly them back to Banda Aceh, citing passengers' complaints about unpleasant smells, said state forestry official chief Affan Absory.

"When the tiger arrived in Banda Aceh on the same day, we found out that it was already dead," he told AFP.

"We are seeking clarification from the airline as they returned the tiger to Banda Aceh without informing our official who was flying with them," added Absory, who said he found blood coming out of the animal's nose.

Garuda says it is waiting for results of their investigation into the tiger's death.

The male tiger had been rescued in 2010 from a forest in Aceh province where it was threatened by human encroachment on its territory.

There may be as few as 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild according to Tigersers In Crisis. The organisation points out that agricultural development in Sumatra has fragmented the natural habitat. The animals are increasingly coming into conflict with people as their natural habitat is rapidly deforested.

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