A cow was attacked and killed on Tuesday by a wild predator in Kampong Lpov commune’s Stung Touch village in Battambang province’s Samlot district, with authorities speculating that a tiger was responsible.

Kampong Lpov commune deputy police chief Chea Sophal told The Post that the cow, which had recently given birth, was found with its neck mauled. Villagers expressed the belief that a tiger was responsible based on paw prints found at the scene.

The cow’s owner was identified as 32-year-old Son Pheap, who is a resident of Stung Touch village.

Likely a tiger

Villagers told police that the attack likely occurred between 3am and 4am on Tuesday. Following the attack, villagers identified paw prints crossing over Stung Touch creek which were likely a tiger’s. The cow’s injuries also corresponded with those inflicted by the big cat.

“After the cow was killed, maybe the tiger could not transfer it to another location because it was too heavy, so it was left behind."

“Commune police and village police will take turns guarding the place where the attack occurred in case the tiger returns for the cow. Our team will also guard the area that the tiger is often seen passing, and if it is found I don’t know whether it will be killed or not. I need to wait for orders from senior authorities,” Sophal said.

The villagers, he said, reported encountering two tigers – a male and female – three years earlier. They suspect it was the male tiger that attacked the cow. Approximately 2km from the village is a mountainous forested area in which the tigers live.

This is the first recorded incident of a tiger attack in Stung Touch village, leaving residents concerned that their children might now be vulnerable to similar attacks.

Battambang provincial Forestry Administration director Pit Phearak told The Post on Tuesday that he was aware of the situation through social media and had already ordered experts to visit the village to confirm whether the cow was killed by a tiger.

“If the tiger is killed, it would be illegal because it’s an endangered species. If the police want to kill the tiger, they should inform experts because I can provide tranquilisers to make the tiger lose consciousness."

“It should be transferred to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre to preserve endangered species,” he said.