Sloth Bear Kills Couple, Feasts on Their Remains For Hours Before Being Discovered

In India, a sloth bear murdered a man and woman before feeding for hours on their corpses.

Sloth Bear

(Photo : Photo by Samadkottur from Wikimedia Commons)

Authorities said the incident happened on Sunday as the couple went back from a shrine in a natural reserve.

An Unfortunate Incident

Mukesh Rai, 43, and his wife Gudiya, 39, traveled through a forest in Panna, a region of central Indian state Madhya Pradesh, on their way home from the Khermai shrine when they came upon a sloth bear.

At around 6:30 a.m., an attack occurred. They live less than a mile from their house.

According to the Times of India, the bear “tore their bodies apart” and consumed their remains for at least four hours before the police and forest department arrived.

Bear assaults are uncommon in India, although they are significantly more common in wooded areas. In a 2015 study of attacks in Central India, researchers discovered that most victims had facial and/or scalp injuries.

All of the 48 assaults investigated involved sloth bears.

The bear that murdered the Panna couple was tranquilized and captured over the course of two hours.

“The animal will not be released in the jungle,” Divisional Forest Officer Gaurav Sharma told DNA India. “We aim to send it to a zoo in another city.”

Also Read: Grizzly Bears Euthanized in Idaho After a Series of Disputes With Locals  

Financial Compensation

Sloth Bear

(Photo : Photo by Москвичи увидят, как в зоопарке кормят шакалов и медведей from Moscow Zoo )

The family of the dead couple has been handed a 400,000 Rupee ($5,000) in financial support. According to the Times of India, locals mounted a demonstration after the couple died, demanding jobs for their family members.

Sloth Bears

Sloth bears are found only in parts of South Asia, including Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. They are similar in size to the American black bear; females may weigh up to 124 kg (273 lb) and males up to 192 kg (423 lb).

Sloth bears are unusual in that they are rarely found near human settlements and eat a primarily vegetarian diet: in Tamil Nadu, southern India, fruit appears to make up 90% of the bears’ diet, with the remainder consisting of flowers, ants, and termites, and the occasional small animal or reptile.

Baloo’s Kind

The sloth bear Baloo from The Jungle Book was written as a gentle giant. Why would an ostensibly kind creature assault and consume two people?

Sloth bears are among the most violent bears, having the highest number of reported assaults on people.

They are presumably predators, as they have been recorded reacting to human presence in the same way as tigers or leopards would, roaring and fighting before fleeing.

Bear populations in India, Nepal, and Bhutan have been fragmented due to deforestation and agricultural habitat degradation outside of protected areas.

This has left just a few tiny populations with minimal genetic variety, many of whom are subjected to continuous poaching and unable to recover due to their poor reproductive rate.

Bears are drawn to human towns in quest of food, but not in the form of humans, but the shape of waste. Humans dislike bears wandering near towns, which exacerbates the conflict between humans and bears.

Because of these issues, India has designated the sloth bear as an endangered species.

Related Article: Despite Outcry, Giant Bear Breaking Into Homes in California May be Killed to Protect Public  

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