Armed with sticks and large stones, numerous residents of Uppanayakanahalli village chased and cornered a sloth bear near Chitradurga on Wednesday.
Abutting the newly-declared Jogimatti Wildlife Sanctuary, the sloth bear was spotted at the village for more than a week, and had even allegedly injured a farmer on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, when the bear was seen attacking two more persons, a large crowd chased the animal that is protected under Scheduled I of the Indian Wildlife Act.
The chaotic operation, involving forest and police officials, soon turned violent after Satish, a Police Inspector from Chitradurga rural police station, and Manjunath, a cameraman for a private news channel, were attacked by the cornered bear. Soon, numerous local residents chased the bear, hurling stones at it. After two hours, people surrounded the bear and rained blows using canes.
The forest officials, who were outnumbered by angry local residents, managed to rescue the wounded animal. “When people started to gather in large numbers, we did not have enough personnel to handle the situation. However, we managed to capture the animal. We have provided it treatment,” said Assistant Conservator for Forests (ACF) Srinivas.
It was barely three months ago that residents chased and killed a sloth bear in the nearby Kanigekallu village of Hosadurga taluk. On November 18, the animal was beaten to death after it killed and partially ate a farmer’s body.
Murugesh, secretary of Bhoomi Geetha Organisation, believed the incidents of man-animal conflict in the area had increased as Chitradurga town and neighbouring villages continued to expand into the sprawling Jogimatti forests. “Due to the formation of layouts near these forests or even installing windmills on the hills, there has been habitat destruction. The animals have started to enter nearby areas in search of food,” he said.