Sun bear attacks couple in Indonesia, killing woman

Photo: AFP

A sun bear mauled a couple in a rare attack in Indonesia, killing the wife and seriously injuring the husband, officials said on Wednesday.

The couple were walking through their rubber plantation in Riau province on Tuesday when the animal lunged at the woman, provincial police spokesman Guntur Aryo told AFP.

The woman, Bunai, died while her husband, Saruli, has been hospitalized after being severely wounded in the attack.

Dr. Nuzelly Husnedi, director of the Arifin Achmad hospital, said the 60-year-old man had suffered a serious puncture wound to the back of his head, as well as gashes to his face and neck.

Officials are investigating the incident and trying to find the bear.

"If we manage to catch the sun bear, of course we will evacuate it to a safer place," said Mahfudz, an official from Riau province conservation agency, who goes by one name.

The sun bear population is in decline in Indonesia because of rapid deforestation, which has led to habitat loss.

Attacks by the animal are rare in Indonesia. In 2015, a man died when a sun bear mauled him in South Sumatra and in 2009 a man in Jambi province lost his fingers and left eye in an assault.