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22 April 2024

Wild bear on rampage, kills three people


A bear killed two villagers and a wildlife officer sent to tranquilise it before being shot dead in a forest in central India, police said Sunday.

The sloth bear mauled the villagers late on Saturday, sparking a police hunt for the beast after fearful locals in Chhattisgarh state demanded its capture.

Police shot and killed the female bear after it also fatally attacked the wildlife official who had been sent to trap and tranquilise it, said Rajesh Kukareja, deputy police chief of Mahasamund district.

"The bear was very aggressive and killed the officer at the spot. We had no option but to shoot it," Kukareja told AFP.

"It was on a rampage, attacking everyone," he said.

Tribal villagers found the bodies of the two men after they failed to return from a trip to the forest to pick edible flowers, triggering a search for them.

Mahasamund is home to numerous animal species, including hundreds of black sloth bears, according to its website.

Sloth bears are found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan but shrinking habitats and rampant poaching have reduced their numbers, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The IUCN has put them on its red list of threatened species and their total estimated population is 20,000.

They can grow up to 1.8 metres (six feet) in length and weigh up to 140 kilograms (310 pounds).