Woman killed by Himalayan black bear in Uttarakhand, husband escapes by climbing tree

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A 47-year-old man was killed by a Himalayan black bear on Friday in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, said forest officials.

Ashutosh Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO) Badrinath said one Maheshi Devi, along with her husband, in Vadhuk village had gone to a nearby forest for cutting grass for cattle fodder when a bear attacked them. “The husband climbed a tree and saved himself from the bear attack but the wife was mauled by the bear,” he said.

Singh said after the required formalities are completed, the kin of the deceased woman would be given compensation.

Singh said the woman died on the spot. “With the onset of winters, bear attacks increase as bears come down from snowy higher reaches in search of food. This is one of the main causes of the surge in man-bear conflict here in winter months,” he said.

This is not the first incident of a bear attack in the state over the last one year or so.

In the first week of September, a 48-year-old man was killed by a bear in Pithoragarh district. The victim was a labourer working on a road project on Munsiyari-Milam road stretch. In May, a fire watcher of the forest department was attacked and severely injured by a bear in Khatna area of US Nagar while he was out on patrol.

In February, Jagdish Singh, a resident of Nanakmatta area in US Nagar, had gone to a nearby forest to fetch fodder when he was attacked by a bear. In a similar incident, also in Nanakmatta, in January, Balwant Singh, a farmer, suffered grievous injuries in a bear attack in the Hanspur Khatta forest area.

The Himalayan black bears can be found in and around Himalayan meadows at an elevation of 10,000 to 12,000 feet. They come down to 5,000-6000 feet in the winter months in search of food. The Himalayan black bear has been listed as a vulnerable species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

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