THREE PEOPLE were killed and three others seriously injured in a bear attack in Talodhi range of Bramhapuri forest division in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district on Saturday.
As two more people were stranded on a tree and the violent bear was waiting below, a decision was taken to shoot the animal. A sharpshooter from the rescue team of Tadoba Andhari Tiger reserve buffer zone then killed the animal by firing four shots from his SLR. The episode continued until 2 pm, with a large number of villagers gathering in the jungle and calling for the animal to be killed.
The bear, reportedly a female, attacked a group of villagers who had gone into the forest near Alewahi village to collect tendu leaves around 7.30 am. Fifty-six-year-old Ranjana Raut of Pitali village died on the spot while Bisan Kulmether, 45, died during treatment at the government hospital at Sindewahi.
Three others who were injured were shifted to Chandrapur government hospital where Farooq Usuf Sheikh, 31, died during treatment. The other two victims — Veena Raut, 35, and Kunal Raut, 16 — were rushed to a government medical college in Nagpur. The sixth victim Sachin Kulmethe, 25, is being treated at Chandrapur.
Head of Forest Force Shri Bhagwan said that the injured were out of danger.
A press note issued by Forest Department said, “With the situation getting grimmer and with the lives of the two other villagers in danger, acting principal Chief Conservator of Forest Vinay Sinha issued shoot orders.”
Asked about the probable reasons behind the bear’s violent behaviour, Bhagwan said, “man-bear conflict usually occurs during tendu and mahua collection seasons as both are claimants to the forest produce. It is possible that the bear had her cubs somewhere around the place and might have felt threatened by the human group. We will have to check if that was the case.” In 2010, a female bear had killed four persons from Jarida village in Melghat forest in Amravati district. The animal was shot dead.
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