A wild bear that killed eight persons and injured five persons in the past 24 hours was lynched by villagers in the Kotpad area of Koraput district on Sunday.
The injured were first admitted to the Kotpad Community Health Centre. Later they were shifted to the Koraput district hospital.
According to police sources, the deceased included two women.
Forest officials said a team from the Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar was called in to capture the errant bear by using tranquilisers. Before the team could reach Koraput, the bear faced the wrath of angry villagers.
The villagers had been upset with the killings by the bear. They had even staged a dharna in front of the forest ranger’s office in Kotpad. They blocked roads at several places in Kotpad.
The villagers tracked down the bear near the Girla village before the forest officials could capture it alive. Eyewitnesses said the animal was first hit by a jeep. Then it was beaten to death by the mob. They then carried the carcass in a procession in Kotpad.. Later, the forest officials seized the carcass.
Laxmikant Mishra, Divisional Forest Officer, and sub-collector Birendra Karkara rushed to the area and promised compensation to the families of victims. They also assured proper treatment of the injured.
Forest officials said the bear might have strayed out of the jungle lured by the smell of cashew apples and mahua flower. Consumption of mahua might have intoxicated the bear following which it could have turned violent.
On Saturday, the bear attacked a group of women returning after collecting firewood from the jungle near Amarmunda village. The animal was hiding under a culvert. One woman was killed on the spot. When people gathered in the area, it bear ran away. Later, it attacked and killed two others near Amarmunda and Totiaguda.
A couple sleeping outside their house were attacked by the animal. The husband died on the spot while his wife died in the hospital. Two other persons of the same village were attacked the same night. The body of another person killed by the bear at Girla was found on Sunday morning.