Authorities are investigating the death of an endangered Sumatran tiger during a plane journey in Indonesia.

State forestry official Afan Absori says the tiger was being flown from Banda Aceh to a zoo on Java island on Tuesday along with a gibbon and two bearcats.

He cited Garuda Indonesia airlines as saying the animals were removed from the plane's cargo hold during a stop in Medan because of complaints from passengers about their smell. They were taken back to Banda Aceh, where officials found the tiger had died.

Absori said an autopsy found it had a broken leg and facial injuries. The cause of the injuries was being investigated.

Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies. About 400 remain, down from around 1,000 in the 1970s, because of forest destruction and poaching.