BENGALURU: The elusive sloth bear, which had kept the Karnataka Forest Department officials and the people residing between Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) and Attibele on tenterhooks, seems to have returned to its natural habitat. At least, this is what the forest department officials wish to believe and are also telling people.
This is because the animal has not been sighted directly or on camera traps by any forest staffer or locals. “There have been no signs of the animal in the last three days. Four days back, the sloth bear was sighted at night near a temple in N Begur, which is 4-5 kms away from BNP. So we are only hoping that it would have made its way back to the forest patch using its natural instinct. However, we are not letting our guard down,” a senior forest department official said.
The bear had sneaked out of the forest on Saturday night, and since then, forest department staff, police, BNP and Bengaluru Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBBP) staff, and Wildlife SOS were searching for it. Drone cameras were used and camera traps were erected at strategic points.
Over 100 foot-patrolling staffers were deployed in various teams to perambulate the areas and look for the bear. Three veterinarians and darters were also deployed to tranquilise and capture the animal, which had allegedly injured six people between Sunday and Monday night, while being on the run.
Forest officials are still unsure whether it was the same sloth bear which was captured and brought to the BBBP rescue centre, that had escaped. “We are yet to gather photographic evidence and analyse it. Also, the nine-year-old male’s tests were not conducted when it was brought from Tumakuru, because it had eloped,” the official said.