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After the death of Mat Jalil, the villages of Kampung Som were living in constant fear of the man-eating tiger. During the ay, they would move in groups, armed with parangs and wooden poles. even then hey would not venture far into the jungle, though their livelihood depended on it. All the schoolgoing children had been staying away from school Before sunset, all the adults would be back home. No one would venture out at night. It was like a self-imposed curfew. Even with their windows shut and doors locked, the villagers had been having sleepless nights. So far, a villager had been killed and another injured by the tiger. A number of goats and cows had gone missing. The villages knew that a healthy tiger would not attack human beings. They were angry that the hunters had injured the tiger, which consequently changed its hunting habit. I was entrusted with the task of capturing the wounded tiger alive. Killing it would be a last resort.

I learn that the tiger had been prowling the village for the past eight days. I took note of its movements after talking to a few villagers and the headman. Then with the help of my only assistant game ranger, Jaafar, we set up a trap, using human blood and wild boar. We hoped to lure it into a steel cage. I even placed cameras in the jungle in order to keep track of the animal. For the first two days, there was no sign of the tiger. I wondered whether it had sensed our presence and had retreated deep into the jungle. If it was so, our efforts would be futile. On the third day, I came across fresh pug marks some two hundred meters away from the cage. this meant that the animal was still around. However, it remained elusive and did not go anywhere near the cage. On the fourth day, four Rela members traveling on a four-wheel drive on late night patrol saw the tiger sprint across their path. It was near the spot where Mat Jalil was mauled to death. The pug marks showed that the tiger weighted about 140 kg.

On the fifth day, I made a routine check on the trap. As usual, the tiger had avoided it, though the bait we used was wild boar meat, its natural diet. The five days of vigil and lack of sleep had sapped our energy. I was beginning to feel desperate. I told Jaafar that we would call it quits if we could not catch the cat by the next day. By now the sun was beginning to set as we came near a stream, Jaafar sat on a rock for a puff while I proceeded to the stream some thirty meters away to wash my face. The water was cold and refreshing, just the right tonic to keep me awake when night came. The surroundings seemed to be usually quiet. Even the air was quite still.

As I turned around with the intention of calling Jaafar to join me, I froze instantly. It was the big cat just a few meters away from Jaafar. It was in a crouching position, ready to pounce on him. There was no time to lose. I had to act fast. I got hold of my shot gun, took aim and fired. the shot hit the tiger, but it managed to run into an oil palm estate. The startled Jaafar was quick to regain his composure. We wasted no time tracking down the wounded animal. We found it lying in a pool of blood. We did not have to fire another shot as it was already dead. The man-eater measured 2.75 meters from head to tail, one of the largest I have ever seen. It was about 15 years old, I regretted that I had to kill it. But there was nothing else I could do because i did not want to gamble with Jaafar's life.

The death of the tiger had ended two weeks of terror for the villagers of Kampung Som. They were glad that they could once again move about freely. More important, the children could attend school again and the men could resume their activity of collecting jungle produce as a means of earning a living. To the widow of Mat Jalil, however, it did not make any difference. She only hoped that the authorities would not allow illegal hunters to hunt the forests because they would cause a lot of problems. Indeed, the man-eating tiger that was killed by me had old gunshot wounds on its body. One of the shots shattered its front right leg. Unable to hunt effectively it turned to hunting humans. If not capture or killed, it would keep on hunting humans.

From paragraph 1 :
  1.

How did the presence of the man-eating tiger affect

(a) the schoolgoing children ?

(b) the villagers ?

(c) their social life ?

   

From paragraph 2 :

  2.

(a) According to the game ranger, how would their efforts 'be futile' ?

(b) What made him certain that the tiger was still around ?

    From paragraph 3 :
  3.

(a) When did the game ranger begin to feel 'desperate' ?

(b) In what way was the water just the right 'tonic' for him ?

    From paragraph 4 :
  4.

Do you think the game ranger had done the right thing in killing the tiger ? Give one reason.

    From paragraph 5 :
  5.

(a) Why did the death of the tiger 'not make any difference' to the widow of Mat Jalil ?

(b) What was her only hope ?

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Answers
 

1.

(a) They had to stay away from school.

(b) They had to restrict their work and stop venturing into the jungle.

(c) They had to move in groups during the day and stay at home at night.

 

2.

(a) Their efforts would be useless if the tiger had retreated into the jungle.

(b) Fresh pug marks that he saw convinced him that the tiger was till around.

 

3.

(a) He began to feel so after 5 days of waiting in vain.

(b) It was cold and refreshing for the tired game ranger.

 

4.

Yes. The tiger was on the point of attacking Jaafar and he had to act fast to save him.

 

5.

(a) She had lost her husband to the man-eating tiger.

(b) She hoped that the authorities would not allow illegal hunting in the jungle

 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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