Wife rescued husband from being mauled by tiger

An Orang Asli man was attacked by a tiger last Saturday and lived to tell the tale. Tambun Gediu, 60, from an Orang Asli settlement in Kg Sungai Tiang, 75km from Gerik town, was hunting squirrels in the fringes of the Belum forest when he came upon the tiger.

"I was trailing a squirrel and crouched to shoot it with my blowpipe when I saw the tiger.

"That's when I realised that I was being trailed," he said after surgery at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital here yesterday.

Tambun said he tried to escape by climbing up a tree, but the tiger caught up with him and dragged him down.

"I was terrified and I used all my strength to punch the animal in the face, but it would not budge.

"I had to wrestle with it to keep its jaws away from me, and it would have clawed me to death if my wife had not arrived."
His wife, Han Besau, 55, came to his aid after hearing the tiger's roars and managed to drive the beast away by hitting its head with a large wooden ladle.

Tambun, who suffered lacerations on his head, face, neck and both knees, had to wait more than 10 hours before being admitted to Gerik Hospital because rescuers had difficulty in going to his settlement, which is deep in the Belum Temenggor Forest complex.

He was then transferred to Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital after doctors deemed it necessary for him to have an operation to clean his wounds.

There are no operation theatres at Gerik Hospital.

State executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, who visited Tambun at the hospital here, said the man's condition was stable.

"Most of his lacerations were not too deep and he did not require any stitches.

"Tambun, however, has open wounds on his knees that will take time to heal."

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) Perak director Shabrina Mohd Shariff, who was also present, said she would help Tambun get financial aid from the Wild Animal Attack Relief Fund.

She added that Perhilitan officers, together with those from the State Department of Orang Asli Affairs, would visit the place where Tambun was attacked and try to track the tiger, believed to be a male, weighing between 80kg and 90kg.

"The tiger was probably hunting for prey and mistook Tambun for a mammal.

"This is not unusual as Tambun was in the tiger's natural habitat."

She estimated that there were about 200 tigers in the jungles of Perak and said five had been spotted near the East-West Highway, near Jeli, Gerik and Lenggong.


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