Balasore, April 12: A wild bear is giving sleepless nights to the inhabitants of the tribal-dominated Oupada and Khaira blocks of this district. It has been raiding villages and attacking domestic animals and poultry.
Forest department officials have failed to catch the beast so far. “Every time we tried to cage the bear, he has managed to elude us,” said Kedar Swain, divisional forest officer, Balasore.
“Bears usually consume sweet fruits, sugarcane, white ants and certain brews. But this one has picked up the habit of eating fowls and goats,” he said.
The animal, which is believed to have sneaked into the area from Devagiri hills, has so far invaded Dagarapada, Bahadalpur, Mangalpada, Ogalpur, Baunsapal, Dantur, Mahulagadia and Badapokhari villages in Khaira and Oupada blocks. He has been barging into the mud houses targeting the fowls and goats. The latest to lose their fowls to the bear were Kailash Gana and Ananta Parida of Baragadia village.
“I lost nine birds in one night. We now fear for our lives,” said Purnachandra Pakal of Mahulagadia. Officially, the casualties now stand at 40 birds and three goats, but villagers claim the number to be much higher in reality.
“We have requested the government for a special compensation package for the people,” said Rabindra Mahapatra, forest ranger of Soro, adding that the bear had been rescued with great difficulty from a pit near Nilgiri last February. But, it has returned to haunt the villages.