WILDLIFE TALES: 2 bear strikes in a week – Farmer loses right eye

WILDLIFE TALES: 2 bear strikes in a week – Farmer loses right eye – stories the grandchildren would hate to love ?!!

A Himalayan black bear in Kanchenjunga National Park - not to be disturbed in the wild ?!! (TT)


Gangtok, Aug. 16: The bears are back.

A 36-year-old farmer was attacked yesterday morning near the Fhabonglho wildlife sanctuary, the second person to be mauled in a week, bringing back memories of last year’s strikes.

Rapden Lepcha, who lost an eye, was on his way home in Sumil Linjey village after work in the morning when he came across the bear in the field, said divisional forest officer (wildlife) Karma Legshey.

Lepcha suffered injuries on his head and was admitted to the STNM Hospital.

Doctors attending to him said he had lost his right eye in the attack and suffered cuts on his head. He was referred to a private clinic in Siliguri for further treatment and his condition is said to be stable.

Wildlife authorities said Rs 5000 has already been given to Lepcha’s family for his treatment. The forest department has promised further help.

A big cage has already been dispatched to the village, 50km from here, to trap the bear. It is suspected that the wild animal had entered the village to raid the maize fields.

“We have sent a big cage from here to the village and a trap has been set up near the Fhabonglho sanctuary,” said the DFO.

A forest team led by an additional conservator of forest (Fhabonglho), Samdup Bhutia, is at the spot monitoring the efforts to snare the bear. The animal has not been sighted again but there were some reports on evidence of its presence, said the DFO.

This is the second bear attack in Sikkim this year.

A 39-year-old was mauled by a bear at Keochupari Lathang village in West Sikkim on August 12.

Sonam Lepcha, who was attacked while collecting cattle fodder, suffered deep cuts on his leg and body.

There were reports of bear sightings in human habitats at Geyzing in West Sikkim in July too.

Last year, between September and December, at least 70 bear transgressions were reported from various corners of Sikkim and some of these turned into a man-animal conflict that led to the death of a bear. Another was killed in a fierce territorial fight with another bear on November 10 at Dokeythang reserved forest near Geyzing.

Marten pair hunts down zoo birds – looking for laxity in maintenance or vigilance ?!!

A satyr tragopan in the Himalayan Zoological Park - endangered further by neglect ?!! (TT)


Gangtok, Aug. 16: A pair of Himalayan martens that had sneaked into an enclosure in the Himalayan Zoological Park devoured eight birds, including three endangered species, on Saturday night.

A pair of silver pheasants, two Lady Amherst pheasants, a pair of kalij pheasants, one male golden pheasant and a monal were killed by the weasel-like carnivore, said Sikkim chief wildlife warden N.T. Bhutia.

The silver pheasants, kalij pheasants and monals, listed as endangered species, had been brought to the zoo in 2007-08.

The kalij and the monal pheasants are local species found in Sikkim and across the Himalayas.

The martens had sneaked inside the 400sqft enclosure through a drain that was covered by a stone.

The animals somehow managed to roll off the stone and entered the aviary on Saturday night.

Once inside the main enclosure, the pair also entered two separate cages through small holes. In the carnage that followed, the eight birds were killed and devoured.

“This is the first such incident in the zoo. We have asked for a full inquiry report from the zoo authorities. An investigation is going on,” said Bhutia.

“We will make a thorough inspection of the enclosures here and plug all the points through which martens and jackals enter,” he added.

The zoo authorities said three martens had been spotted near a deer enclosure on Saturday and the guards had driven them away. (should have been captured & caged too ?!!)

The zoological park at Bulbuley is spread over 230 hectares. Currently there are 52 different species of birds and animals including the red panda, snow leopard and the Tibetan wolf, in the zoo.

The authorities said wild animals, like martens, jackals and bears were often seen in the peripheral areas of the park.


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