A stray wild bear has been creating panic in Kotpad area of Koraput district since Saturday night. Forest officials are closely tracking the animal.

According to Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Jeypore, Laxmikant Mishra, despite all efforts the wild animal was not nabbed till Sunday evening. He was hopeful that it would be either captured or shooed back inside the jungle.

It may be noted that last week a wild bear killed eight persons within 24 hours in Kotpad area. It was lynched by the angry villagers on May 5. The wild bear had also seriously injured five persons. So, both the forest officials and the localites were too cautious about the wild bear.

Mr. Mishra said adequate number of forest officials with vehicles were posted in the area where the wild bear was located. “We also have a team of forest officials with tranquilisers to catch the animal alive,” the DFO said. The team has local forest officials who have been trained to administer tranquilisers from a distance to wild animals in the Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar.

According to the DFO, around 50 to 60 wild bears lived in the Kotpad area that has bushy jungles. It may be noted that bushy jungles are preferred habitat of wild bears. During the summer months, wild bears get attracted towards human habitat due to smell of ripening cashew apples, mangoes, and jackfruits in orchards near human habitats.

Public cautioned

Through announcements by traditional means like drummers as well as vehicles with public address system, the inhabitants of villages in Kotpad area were being cautioned about presence of wild bears in their area. “We are making people aware of behaviour of wild bears and the measures that can be taken to escape from their attack. We are advising people not to venture into the jungles near the villages during morning and evening when the wild bears are most active,” the DFO said.

Investigation and enquiry is on to ascertain the reason behind the violent behaviour of the wild bear that killed eight persons in Kotpad area last week. The lynched violent bear was a female. Usually female bears after child birth become extra violent in a bid to protect their cubs. As per localites due to some reason the cubs of this bear had either been killed or lost, due to which it became violent and started attacking humans. “We are still investigating authenticity of this view point,” the DFO said.