Villagers in a remote Indonesian community, who believed a supernatural shapeshifter was hiding out in their community, killed an endangered Sumatran tiger, reports said Monday.

Locals in northern Sumatra's Hatorangan village disemboweled the tiger and put the endangered animal on display by hanging it from a ceiling, strapped to a wooden plank, and dozens of villagers crowded around to see it. There are believed to be lesser than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the entire world.

Conservation officials said Monday that the endangered animal was slain Sunday after it apparently attacked one or two residents, who had followed the animal to its lair in order to determine whether it was a mythological, supernatural creature. 

Officials said they had warned the villagers and advised them not to kill the animal, however the locals ignored and prevented the officials from intervening.

“Unfortunately they would not listen. They insisted on killing the tiger,” local conservation agency head Hotmauli Sianturi told Sky News. “After killing the animal, the locals hung up its body for display. It’s very regrettable.”

According to the Jakarta Post, superstitious villagers feared it was a "siluman," or shapeshifter, and when officials refused to kill it, the locals took matters into their own hands and decided to kill the endangered animal themselves.

The tiger was reportedly resting under a resident’s stilt house when it was attacked by the villagers. The locals then allegedly surrounded the animal and plunged spears repeatedly into the tiger’s abdomen.

Authorities investigating the killing of the animal said they have discovered that the tiger is missing canine teeth, claws and skin off its face and tail – all body parts, which can be used in medicine or sold in the black market.

Activists said the endangered animal had been prowling in the area for more than a month, approximately since February.

"The tiger was sleeping under a resident's stilt house when the people struck him repeatedly in the abdomen with a spear," Lion Muslim Nasution, an official in the Batang Natal subdistrict — where the village is located — told the Jakarta Post.

Nasution added that villagers were aware of the animal’s endangered status but feared that a shapeshifter had taken over its body and was lurking in their village.

The World Wildlife Fund stated that Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies.

“The last of Indonesia’s tigers—as few as 400 today—are holding on for survival in the remaining patches of forests on the island of Sumatra. Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives,” the group stated.

“In Indonesia, anyone caught hunting tigers could face jail time and steep fines. But despite increased efforts in tiger conservation — including strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching capacity — a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products. Sumatran tigers are losing their habitat and prey fast, and poaching shows no sign of decline,” the website states.