As many as 25 sloth bears are on the prowl in the area
Residents of villages in Kudligi taluk, on the south-western part of the district, are always in the grip of fear as they are prone to the attack from a group of sloth bears, which is on a prowl here for the past several years.
Over a dozen villagers had sustained injuries in the last couple of years after they were attacked by sloth bears. The people came under attack when they had gone out of their house for daily chores. The residents of Kadekola, Nelabommanahalli, Madakanayakahalli, Bheemsamudra, Badeladaku, Mahadevapur, Appenahalli, and Halsagarahatti, a majority of whom are farmers, said now they go out only in a group of three or four.
“We cannot go out of our houses, as we are scared of being attacked by bears. The whole day we are on a high alert as we don't know when the beast will strike,” Renukamma, a villager, told The Hindu.
One of them lost his eye sight, while others sustained severe injuries after the attack.
Ravikumar, 20, fractured both his hands and also sustained leg injuries after he was chased by bears a fortnight ago.
Run for life
“I was working in the field and was shocked to see a couple of bears rushing towards me. I ran for my life but the bears chased me. Later, I climbed on a tree but fell down. There were fractures in both my hands and I suffered leg injuries. Hearing the sound of my fall, the bears ran away,” he said.
Thimmajja, another villager who lost his left eye in an attack, said the animal came from behind when he was working in the field.
It caught him and hit him on his head.
“One of its claws that held my head, tore open my forehead and the left eye ball came out,” he said.
He had to spend lot of money for the treatment at a private hospital.
The Forest Department had made several attempts to catch these animals, following complaints from villagers. However, their efforts went in vain as it was difficult to track the animals in the vast landscape.
These villages are surrounded by a terrain of rocky hills with thorny bushes, which prove to be a safe haven for sloth bears.
Though the villagers hope that the Government and the elected representatives will come forward to protect them, it remains to be seen what the administration will do in this regard.