Starving tiger killed after attacking Thai park officials

Associated Press, 01/15/98 13:12

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - A starving tiger was shot and killed in a Thai wildlife sanctuary after attacking and seriously injuring two forest rangers.

The tiger, estimated to be about 15 years old, was apparently desperate for food and made two forays Tuesday into the staff living area at Khao Yai, 130 miles northeast of Bangkok.

Ranger Khammual Thongtam, 21, said the tiger appeared while he was washing his clothes on a balcony.

The tiger leaped three feet onto the balcony and attacked him, biting and clawing his arms. Another ranger came to his aid and was badly mauled. The tiger fled when their screams attracted more help.

``Tigers usually just run away when they smell humans, except when they are hurt or starving,'' Khammual said Thursday.

However, the tiger returned in the middle of the night and was shot by another ranger.

The animal had an old bullet in its right frong leg, which rangers said probably left it unable to hunt for food in the jungle.

Tigers once roamed much of Asia, but they are drawing closer to extinction because of massive deforestation and poaching, environmentalists say.

Fewer than 5,000 are believed to remain in the wild.

© Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company

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