Last Tiger Tamer To Keep Big Cats at Bay With His Magic

Banda Aceh, TAG - Spells and prayers are all that are needed to keep people safe from potentially man-eating tigers, according to Aceh’s last remaining tiger tamer.

Sarwani Sabi, 65, has since Sunday evening been religiously uttering special mantras in the Jambo Papeuen village of southern Aceh, where residents have been unable to sleep easy after learning that a hungry Sumatran tiger has been roaming their streets at night. 

“Tamer Sarwani is doing his best to keep the tiger from descending on the village by using the traditional method of prayers and [the chanting of] special mantras. And in the past two nights the tiger hasn’t been sighted,” Syafwan, the head of South Aceh’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), told the Jakarta Globe, adding that southern Aceh was lucky to have an expert like Sarwani on hand. 

The tiger, Syafwan said, had not attacked humans so far but had managed to slaughter eight lambs and dozens of chickens. 

Syafwan added that Sarwani had also been sent off to East Kluet district where worried residents have also sighted a tiger. 

Abu Bakar Chekmat, BKSDA chief, said that the province’s problem was the lack of any other tiger tamers. 

“We are facing problems in the form of tigers and elephants. Our resources and funding are limited, especially human resources. Sarwani is the only tamer we have and he’s getting old. We’re lucky he’s still so energetic,” Abu Bakar said. 

He said that catching the tiger was not part of their plans. “We won’t capture it because we’ll only have to release it back into the wild again. We just chase it off, back into its habitat, using the proper method of prayers and mantras.” 

Abu Bakar said that Aceh was home to at least 154 tigers. 

The worsening conflict in Aceh between humans and wildlife, particularly elephants and Sumatran tigers, is due to the destruction of the animals’ natural habitat, mostly by illegal logging. Villagers in southern Aceh have been reporting increased tiger sightings since the middle of 2007. 

Two weeks ago, tigers attacked two farmers as they worked their land. Ali Syamsul and Alidar suffered injuries but managed to escape death. 

They are still traumatized and have not gone back to the farm since. Other farmers are afraid because tigers have been seen lurking near farms during the day. 

In 2007, six farmers from various villages in southern Aceh were attacked. Five of them were found dead and one survived.[]
Last Tiger Tamer To Keep Big Cats at Bay With His Magic Last Tiger Tamer To Keep Big Cats at Bay With His Magic Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 23, 2010 Rating: 5

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