A sloth bear, suspected to have killed a forest official and two others over the past three days, was shot dead by a team of police and forest officials using AK-47 rifles on Wednesday after an extensive scan of a Banaskantha jungle. According to police officials, the team fired as many as 67 rounds to kill the animal — a lactating female likely nursing her cubs — after a failed attempt to capture it.
While the carcass was sent for autopsy, photographs of team team posing with assault rifles and the dead bear have gone viral. D Solanki, assistant forest officer, Banaskantha range, told The Indian Express, “We had obtained permission to kill the sloth bear, which had mauled to death three men, under Section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.”
A team of nearly 80 men from the Banaskantha forest range, the district police and the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation, Gandhinagar, were sent to search the bear. According to Banaskantha police, five policemen were sent to assist the forest officials to trap the bear. The officials said the order had come from “top level, including the forest ministry, to kill the animal as it had killed three persons” since Sunday.