Villagers Kill Wild Bear in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Sept 26: In an ugly turn to the man-animal conflict in Kashmir, villagers in central Kashmir today killed a wild bear after it attacked them.

Police said that a wild bear entered village Sutharan in central Kashmir today and attacked some villagers. Some people were injured in the attack and immediately hundreds of villagers rushed to the spot and killed the bear with sharp edged weapons. They also pelted stones at the animal until it took its last breath.

The man-animal conflict has increased in Kashmir and at least 35 people have lost their lives in the attacks of wild bears and leopards.

The killing of a bear by people is the fourth such instance in Kashmir. Earlier on three other occasions, people in Kashmir had killed the wild animals after being attacked by them.

The wildlife officials in Kashmir said the conflict is the result of the decimation of forest cover and shrinkage of habitat due to expanding human populations, un-checked and ever increasing developmental activities; bringing more area under agriculture and horticulture in the fringes of the forest areas; decline in the natural prey base in the forests with the passage of time; population explosion leading to massive expansion of residential areas near the forests, increase in the number of common leopard/black bear due to a complete ban on its hunting and the global warming and climate changes.

They say that the presence of Indian security forces in the forest areas also sometimes causes disturbance to wildlife habitat.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.