The Tigers of Trengganu

Monograph 23
The Tigers of Trengganu
By A. Locke
207pp. Size: 140x220mm. Softcover

Tigers are seldom seen in Peninsular Malaysia today, except in zoos. But in 1949, tigers were still numerous in the remote rural hinterlands of the peninsula, and in South Trengganu in particular, they were killing cattle and even children. It was fortunate for the villagers that Arthur Locke of the Malayan Civil Service was posted to Kemaman to help administer the southern half of Trengganu. For two years, from 1949 to 1951, Mr. Locke in his spare time tracked down - in the dark - and shot twenty-two tigers, often seated on a precarious little platform up a jungle tree, only twelve feet above the ground. Locke later wrote an account of his experiences that was first published in 1954 by the Museum Press in London and subsequently reissued a few times before finally going out of print. It was richly illustrated with numerous photographs of the tigers which he had shot, and quickly became a 'bestseller'. This book also includes a chapter which Locke named 'Superstitions and Legends', containing rare information on Malay tiger-lore not found elsewhere.

The Rt. Hon. Mr. Malcolm Macdonald - then Commissioner General for the United Kingdom in Southeast Asia - contributed a foreword in which he wrote: 'This book is likely to be a Malayan Classic.' The Council of the MBRAS shares this view and is grateful to Mr. Locke for permission to republish it.

"Locke's observations on the food and movements of rainforest tigers drawn from his Tigers of Trengganu (1954) occupy a special niche in the realm of tiger natural history accounts."

K. Ullas Karanth, Tiger Tales: Tracking the Big Cat Across Asia (New Delhi, 2006)

About the Author:

Arthur Locke was born in 1910. At the outbreak of war in 1939, Locke enlisted in the army and went to France before withdrawing with the rest of the British forces from Dunkirk in 1940. In 1949, he was appointed British Administrative Officer (East) based in Kemaman and put in charge of the largely-rural southern districts of the Malay kingdom of Trengganu. Locke was remembered, perhaps for the wrong reasons, as the official who first spotted Maria Hertogh (of the infamous Nadra adoption case which sparked off a riot in Singapore in 1950) at a school competition in Kemaman and promptly alerted the authorities as to her whereabouts. After he retired as Financial Officer to the Malayan Armed Forces in 1959, Locke returned to England where he went into private enterprise and indulged in his passion for fly-fishing in rural Hampshire.

Foreword by the Rt. Hon. Malcolm MacDonald

  1. Background
  2. Distribution, Size and Habits
  3. Diet, Kills and Area Covered
  4. Tiger Hunting
  5. My First Tiger
  6. The Kijal Twins
  7. Man-Eating Tigers
  8. The Jerangau Man-Eater
  9. Superstitions and Legends

COPYRIGHT © 2010 Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society