This is the moment an endangered tiger sizes up a villager who was so shocked to be confronted by the big cat he fell over right in front of it.
Eyewitnesses filmed the scene as two tigers emerged from the jungle to take a stroll through the village of Kampung Besul ,in the district of Dungun in the Malaysian state of Terengganu, in broad daylight.
Residents scattered in panic but one man was so frightened that he fell over in the road when confronted by one of the tigers at close quarters.
For a split second it looked as if the Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) was going to attack the man as it moved in even closer.
But the potentially deadly predator contented itself with taking a sniff of the terrified villager before walking on down the road.
Another villager Adli Mohamed said: “They appeared before my eyes and I now know the experience of trying to escape from dangerous animals on a motorcycle.”
Photographs and videos of the tigers were shared online and made a big impression on users of social media platforms.
They showed people keeping a wary distance from the tigers but neither of the big cats appeared aggressive.
Dr Abdul Malik Yusof, director of the State National Parks and Wildlife Department, said he had sent a team of rangers to the scene.
He said: “I have directed my men to monitor the situation and we will take the necessary action.”
But he added that no attempt would be made to capture the tigers because of their proximity to villagers who could be endangered if the operation went wrong.
Dr Yusof later confirmed the tigers, believed to be a male and a female, had returned to the jungle without incident.
He added that the tigers’ lethargic behaviour suggested they were either suffering from illness or were escaped pets.
“However, we cannot confirm this as the tigers are still at large,” he added.
Malayan tigers inhabit parts of the Malay Peninsula, and are classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. It is believed only a few hundred remain in the wild.
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