Pregnant woman dies in bear attack near Kanakapura

Pregnant woman dies in bear attack near Kanakapura

A five months pregnant woman died after she was attacked by a sloth bear at Chokasandra village in Kanakapura taluk, Ramanagaram district, on Thursday morning. It was initially thought to be an incident of leopard attack, but forest personnel later said it was a bear attack.

The victim Suma Bai, 25, is the wife of Praveen Kumar Naik. The woman died on the spot. She had gone to answer nature's call when she was attacked by the animal, just 50 metres from her house. Chokasandra is at a distance of 1 km from the Bananthawari state forest, under Ramanagaram forest division.

She was first spotted lying in a pool of blood at around 5.30 am by Muttaswamy Naik, a local resident who informed the police and the forest officials. The officials rushed her to a government hospital where she was declared brought dead.

Vijay Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, Ramanagaram forest division, told DH that initially people suspected it to be a leopard attack. But injuries and post-mortem confirmed that it was a sloth bear attack, he said. The woman's family will get a compensation of Rs five lakh.

"There were nail marks on her neck and near her ears, which confirm that it is a sloth bear attack. There were four marks which were four- to five-inch deep," said Dinesh, range forest officer.

The Ramanagaram forest division and the nearby hillocks are home to sloth bears and leopards. However, the sighting of bears is rare here. Forest officials said they had seen two sloth bears wandering near the hillocks and the forest areas.

Bears are shy and nocturnal animals. To ensure that such incidents do not recur, the department has issued a warning to the village residents. The officials have asked them not to venture out during evening and night hours.

"Night-long combing operations will be undertaken for the next two to three days. The aim is to scare and drive the bears into the forest. The local residents also want the same. If any untoward incident repeats, the animals will have to be captured," Dinesh said.

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