Sloth bear dies after tranquilisation

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Baripada, May10 (UNI) A sloth bear, listed as endangered and threatened species in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, died after tranquilisation today.

Forest department sources here said the sloth bear, which had strayed into Sinduria village yesterday, had attacked and injured ten villagers and an Armed Police Reserve (APR) constable, defying all attempts of capture.

The injured people were admitted to the Barsahi hospital, from where two of the critically injured were shifted to the District Headquarters Government Hospital, the sources said.

A team of about 20 forest officials, aided by the local police officials of Barsahi and Khunta, made an abortive attempt for nearly 11 hours yesterday to drive back the animal to its neighbouring habitat, Udala Range Officer Jitendra Mohanty said.

However, the animal defied all attempts and continued to attack the villagers.

''Under compelling circumstances, we had no option but to tranquilise the animal so that it could be brought under control,'' Mr Mohanty said.

Sources said after the first shot of the drug, the animal became even more wild and continued its attack on the villagers. Later, a second dose was given to which the animal responded.

The sloth bear, however, could not be revived from the sedative condition and was declared dead by veterinarians.

A heavy carnivorous animal with long shaggy hair and hooked claws, the sloth bear is listed as endangered and threatened species in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The habitat available for sloth bears is highly degraded and interspersed by villages and agricultural crop land as a result of which the people often come in contact with the aggressive animal leading to man-bear conflicts.

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