Residents of Sungsang village in Banyuasin regency, South Sumatra, were shocked by the discovery of a mutilated body of a local fisherman in a river on Sunday, with many suspecting he was attacked by a crocodile.
The body — which was found cut in half in Bangke River — has been identified as that of Sidik Kamseno, a 40-year-old resident of neighboring Pagar Bulan village.
Sidik and seven other fishermen had been exploring the river to catch crabs when he suddenly went missing, according to local authorities.
Taman Sembilang National Park region II head Affan Absori said the fishermen, including Sidik, had boarded a ship toward the river on Saturday but later went separate ways on small boats.
However, Sidik was nowhere to be found later that afternoon, prompting local authorities to search for him, he said.
“When we finally found him, his body was already cut in half. A crocodile had probably mauled him,” Affan said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
He went on to say that the river where the body was found, as well as the surrounding area, was home to wild animals like crocodiles and tigers.
“Fishermen have always tried to catch crabs in the river. They often see crocodiles there,” Affan said.
South Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) head Genman Suhefti Hasibuan confirmed that Bangke River indeed served as a natural habitat for crocodiles.
The incident was the latest in a string of conflicts between humans and wildlife, Genman added.
The South Sumatra BKSDA has recorded 27 cases of human-animal conflict — involving tigers, elephants, honey bears wild boars, crocodiles and other animals — in the province throughout 2019, leaving eight people dead.
“Most of the [conflicts] arose after humans entered the wildlife’s habitat. So it’s not the animals which attacked humans, but the latter who first intruded their home,” Genman said. (rfa)