Five men have been rescued in Indonesia after being trapped in trees for five days by an ambush of Sumatran tigers which mauled a sixth member of the party to death.

The men were found by a police search party on Monday surrounded by five tigers in the protected Mount Leuser National Park in Tamiang. Locals had reported the men were trapped but it took the search party three days to navigate the rugged terrain.

The men were looking for rare agarwood  and accidentally caught a tiger cub in a trap they were using to catch deer for food, a police spokesman said. Five other tigers in the area then pounced and the men climbed trees to avoid death.

One of the men was mauled to death when he fell from his tree, the spokesman said.

"I received a report from rescuers that they have just evacuated the men after tamers managed to drive away the tigers,'' said police spokesman Surya Purba. "They are all in weak condition."

A 28-year-old man who was mauled to death had managed to climb a tree, "but the branch broke, causing him to fall to the ground,'' Purba said.

The rescue team of soldiers, policemen and conservationists was sent after villagers failed to reach the men because of the tigers.

Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies. About 400 remain, down from 1,000 in the 1970s, because of forest destruction and poaching.

Agarwood is relatively rare and is highly valued for its dark aromatic resin, which is used in incense and perfumes.

Source: Agencies