The nature crusade was also designed to search for sightings of a mystery wild cat called a Cigau - a creature described as a cross between a lion and a tiger.
Feline: Cigau
Unpatterned tannish fur, short tail, ruff around neck
Reported from Sumatra [east of Mount Kerinci]
Shuker 1998d

The nature crusade was also designed to search for sightings of a mystery wild cat called a Cigau - a creature described as a cross between a lion and a tiger.
Despite the striking findings the growing optimism that a new species is about to be proved is tinged with fears that the animal may be wiped out by human destruction.

Back when Sahar`s father was a bachelor (as Sahar is the same age as me this would have made it some time during the 1960s) he saw the cigau. Kerinci trades with other parts of Sumatra. They exchange rice for goods like silk. Sahar`s father and four other men were traveling a trade route. The path led through the jungle. One of the men had committed a great taboo. He had eaten rice straight from the pot rather than waiting for portions to be given out.

In the dead of night the cigau came from the forest to claim him. It stalked right into their camp and dragged him off into the darkness. It was smaller but stockier than a tiger. It had a silvery lion like mane and golden fur. Its forelegs were longer than itís back legs like the build of a hyena. It had a short, tufted, cow like tail. The men searched the jungle franticly for their lost comrade but when they found him he was minus a stomach, disemboweled by the cigau.

It would be easy to dismiss the cigau as a piece of folklore, the wrath of the jungle sent to punish transgressors but if you recall similar attributes are given to the very real tiger, for example the tiger becoming angry at those who go naked in the forest.

Sahar`s father also spoke of a cigau who laired near a fallen tree that formed a natural bridge over a river. It would swim out and devour those who slipped into the water.

Debbie also commented that she had many recent reports of the cigau in water. Most of them mentioned it flinging back itís mane to shake of the water.

The people of villages such as Palompet and Kersiktua insist this area is the habitat of a big cat they call cigau. Described as being slightly smaller-but apparently more heavily built--than the Sumatran tiger, the cigau appears to prompt real fear among the hunters of Kerinci--the only animal to produce such a reaction. They claimed the cigau attacks without provocation. "Cigau hates man," I was repeatedly told.


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