A soldier shot dead an endangered Sumatran tiger that was caught in a trap in western Indonesia, then skinned it and distributed its meat to villagers, a conservationist said Thursday.

The incident happened Sunday in Tenggayun, a village in Riau province, after residents asked the soldier to help release the critically endangered animal from a pig snare, said Bastoni, an official with the Sumatran Tiger Conservation Program.

"Instead, the soldier fired nine bullets to its body and head, and then asked villagers to skin the wild beast," he said, adding the man proceeded to dole out the meat and take home the tiger's pelt.

Bastoni — who like many Indonesians goes by only one name — said he intends to file a complaint with the army.

Environmentalists say the Sumatran tiger, or Panthera tigris sumatrae, is the most critically endangered tiger subspecies in the world, with fewer than 400 believed to be left in the wild.

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