A bear attack left five persons, including a veterinarian, a septuagenarian and a forest department employee, injured about 30 km from here on Saturday.
When a group of youths had gone to a farm at Aayankulam near Koonthankulam in the district to cut palm fruits in the morning, they saw the bear resting under a neem tree. When they scared the animal away it ran into the bushes. The youths mobilised a group of villagers and started searching for the bear, but could not locate it.
After police and the forest personnel were alerted, a coordinated search was launched in the afternoon.
On noticing the bear hiding in a bush around 2.30 p.m., veterinarian S. Muthukrishnan, who had successfully tranquillized a panther when it entered Thirumal Nagar area on January 18, 2015, tried to rein in the bear, but the animal pounced on him and escaped.
“It must have been a 5-year-old animal, which strayed into the villages possibly from the Western Ghats” said Dr. Muthukrishnan, who suffered a few bruises.
On entering Gandhi Nagar Colony near Arasanaarkulam, the bear attacked 72-year-old Selvamani, who suffered an injury on the forehead. When the bear crossed Nellaiyappapuram, forest personnel tried to net the animal, but failed. Anti-Poaching Watcher Poolpandi (28) and Kalimuthu (31) of A. Sattankulam suffered bruises. Ananthakumar (28), also from Gandhi Nagar Colony, came under attack when he ran behind the animal with other villagers. All of them were given medical assistance immediately.
The animal was spotted near Deivanayagaperi around 5 p.m. It entered a farm near South Nellaiyappapuram. When the forest personnel, who were pursuing the bear with a cage and a net and burst crackers, it hid itself on the periphery of the village.
With the dusk hampering their search, the forest staff decided to spend the night in the hamlet to track its movement.