Bear escape: 150 men and few elephants succeed in cornering animal

: The Himalayan Black Bear is seen tranquilised on Friday, a day after it escaped from Bannerghatta Zoo. The bear was found in Baigehalli, 6 km away.  

It was 150 men and a few elephants against an agitated bear. After hours of a dramatic tussle in the shrubs close to the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), the men eventually prevailed.

A day after a Himalayan Black bear managed to pry open the mesh and jump over the compound wall of the rescue centre at the zoo, the elusive creature was spotted at a village nearly 6-km away. Around 7.30 p.m., the large contingent of men, and a few on elephants, made their way to Baigehalli village to bring back the female bear.

“It was very aggressive and even tried to pounce on us multiple times. We tried to shoo it to a corner using firecrackers, but the bear kept swiping at the staff. Dart guns were brought to tranquilise the bear, but even it took us nearly four hours to catch it,” said a staff member who said he had a close shave when the bear’s swipe missed his body by a whisker.

Thursday saw the zoo staff go into a panic following the escape of the bear, which had been brought to the zoo from Agartala Zoo in Tripura nearly six months ago. Around 10.30 a.m., the bear was let out into the “crawl” area to observe its behaviour before deciding if it could be put in the public exhibition enclosure. However, the bear tore open the mesh and ran towards the barbed-wire wall of the zoo.

“It was restless and aggressive and for six months it was put in isolation. When we corned it, it managed to jump the compound wall,” said Santosh Kumar, Director, BBP, who believed that this was an “isolated” incident for an otherwise “well protected” zoo.

Fearing that the bear would make its way to the Bannerghatta National Park, where it would difficult to track it in the 100-sq-km forest area, a drone was brought in to scour the perimeter. However, by the time it was set-up, the evening sky had darkened.

Fruits and honey were placed all around to trap the bear, while villagers were warned in neighbouring areas. It was a villager who called the zoo officials on Friday after he spotted the bear.

Mr. Kumar said the bear had recovered and would be put in observation for a few more months before deciding on if it can be put in the main zoo.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 11:44:25 PM |

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