Sloth bear

Sloth bear
A 60-year-old woman was killed in a bear attack, a day after two men met with the same fate at Ambera village of Gumla district in Jharkhand on Thursday evening.

The deceased, identified as Pati Devi, was returning home at Banghar village after attending the funeral of one of the other two deceased when the incident happened.

"The bear pounced on her at the same place where the other two men - Lalit and Shubash - were attacked earlier on Thursday," Gumla divisional forest officer Shrikant told TOI.

Pati's seven-year-old grandson Ashish who was with her ran back to the village to seek help. Three men, identified as Lura Kisan, Vijay Kisan and Durga Kisan, who rushed to Pati's help, were also injured in the attack.

"All the injured were taken to Sisai referral hospital where Pati was declared dead. The other three were released at night," the DFO added.

Srikant said: "The heat, which has led to drying up of water sources, is pushing the animals towards human settlements. Forest fires are also adding to the problem."

The state has roped in Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for preparing a document on conservation of sloth bears in the Palkot Wildlife Sanctuary. Spanning over 183.18 square kilometres and spread across Gumla and Simdega districts, the sanctuary is the home of sloth bears in the state. There were 70 sloth bears in the sanctuary as of 2020, a department study had claimed then.

Department data claimed that bears attacked three people in the region last year.

"Forest fires are not much of a contributing factor to the bear attacks in Gumla and Simdega districts in recent days," Umesh Sahani, DFO wildlife (Ranchi wildlife area), told TOI.

"The real spot of bother for the bears are the increased human presence and movement due to the NH -143 which goes through the reserve. In 2019, a sloth bear was run over by a car," Sahani added.