VILLUPURAM: A 35-year-old man was mauled to death by a bear in Kalvarayan Hills on Friday when he was on his way to buy grocery in a village near Chinna Salem.
This is reportedly the first incident in Kalvarayan Hills where a bear had attacked a human.
According to a source, Annamalai (35), a wage labourer of Kodamathi Village in Kalvarayan hills, took a short cut into the forest to buy grocery items in Chinna Salem. As he was walking through the forest area between Melpachori and Kallanatham village, he ran into the bear and its cub. There was not much Annamalai could do. Before he could run away, the bear came charging at him.
The bear pounced on him and started attacking his face and back. After sometime, the animal ran into the forest. Annamalai sustained severe injuries and was unable to walk. But, he managed to make a phone call to his friends, informing them about the encounter.
Immediately, they reached the spot and took him to the Government Kallakuruchi Hospital, with the help of the Forest Department officials. Later, he was shifted to the Government Salem Hospital for further treatment, but he died on Friday afternoon.
Kariyalur police have filed a case and are inquiring further. Source said bears were not uncommon in these forests but such a man-bear conflict has been reported for the first time.
“We had warned the villagers to be careful about the animals, while walking in the forest area. We even asked them to avoid using the forest path at night and advised them against going alone. Though there are many animals, including bears, wolves and deer in the forest area of Kalvarayan Hills, no attack on humans was reported till now’, said D Sujatha, District Forest Officer of Kallakuruchi.
She further said that since the villagers have been using the route for the last many years, the officials were unable to stop them even though the area falls under the reserve forest category. However, warnings have been issued and soon warning boards would be installed in the area to alert outsiders.