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Tiger rumors swirl below Indonesian volcano

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MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia >> Indonesian villagers who fled the now-scorched slopes of a smoldering volcano have another worry: tigers.

Sightings of giant cat pawprints in the thick gray ash blanketing Mount Merapi’s slopes Tuesday sparked rumors a tiger or leopard was roaming abandoned farms searching for food.

Ratmo Supomo says he and his wife saw a pawprint the “size of a clenched fist” when they checked on livestock in Boyong, a village five miles from the peak.

Most of the nearly 70,000 Merapi evacuees have crowded into government camps.

Tri Prasetyo, who heads a national park near the crater, said many animals naturally would flee volcanic activity. But a Javan Tiger was unlikely, as it’s believed to be extinct.

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