It had been just another regular day on the job for Robert Nababan. As he was heading home from work in the Riau province of Sumatra, however, he came across something rather unusual. According to Nababan, he was cruising along on his moped when he discovered two people trying to cross a road – but they were unable to due to a large obstacle. So, Nababan decided to help get the blockage out of the way. Yet this wasn’t just a fallen tree or a rock: this obstacle had fangs.
There are many dangers in the forests of Sumatra, the largest of them being the Asian elephant. Indeed, although pachyderms are normally pretty peaceful animals, they can nevertheless turn deadly if they identify a threat to their young. Male elephants will also attack humans – and even objects – when they are in their “musth” phase. That’s four to five tons of pure aggression – which it’s wise to steer clear of if you value your life.
The island is also home to the Sumatran tiger, a formidable predator which is said to be strong enough to break the legs of a buffalo or a horse. In one incident in 2013, moreover, Sumatran tigers killed one man and kept five others stuck up a tree for days while the big cats circled below.