BHAWANIPATNA: Panic spread in Bhawanipatna town after a wild bear entered the residential areas and attacked passersby at the daily vegetable market near LIC office on Friday. As many as two persons sustained grievous injuries after being mauled by the animal which had come in from the nearby forests. The injured duo was rescued from the clutches of the bear by some youths and rushed to Bhawanipatna hospital. One of them was shifted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar as his condition worsened.
Sources said, locals had spotted the bear roaming in the streets on Thursday night. In the morning, the animal was seen near the crowded vegetable market. The bear panicked at the sight of a huge crowd of people and started attacking passersby at around 9 am.On being informed, police rushed to the spot but were unable to capture the animal. Without any option, the helpless police asked traders to close shops and residents to stay indoors through public address system.
In the meantime, Forest officials arrived at the spot and chased the animal to capture it. Scared, the bear then entered the backyard of one Santanu Kumar Behera’s house at Mahaveerpada. Till reports last came in, the animal was still holed up in Behera’s backyard as three attempts of Forest staff to tranquillise the bear went in vain. Divisional forest officer (DFO) Nitish Kumar said, “Efforts are on to capture the bear. We are hopeful of tranquillizing it in the night after the area is free from public movement.”Sources said two DFOs along with forest personnel and a tranquillising team are camping at the site to capture the bear.
On August 15, another bear was spotted moving in the town. The animal was captured and released in the forest. Habitat loss due to deforestation, lack of food and large-scale podu cultivation are some of the reasons attributed to wild animals straying into the town frequently.