Bear spotted in Wayanad villages continues to play hide-and-seek even after four days

A screengrab from a CCTV footage shows the bear at Thonichal. Photo: Special arrangement

Wayanad: Despite the efforts of two divisions of the Forest Department for the last few days, a bear roaming the farming villages of Mananthavadi Taluk in Wayanad district continues to evade cage traps.

The bear was first spotted on January 21 at Thonichal in the Edavaka Panchayat. Since then, teams led by North Wayanad DFO Martin Lowell and South Wayanad DFO Shajna Karim have led combing operations in search of the animal.

The bear sneaked into a house at Peechamkode and was found running away with a bottle of coconut oil, which it tried to pry open on a neighbouring farm.

The bear reportedly made a futile attempt to break open the window of the storeroom of Government LP School, Peechangode on Monday. It broke into the kitchen of St Sebastian’s Church at Kommayad the same day.

There are reports that the animal might have moved to Panamaram in the South Wayanad Forest Division after a farmer, Kayakkandathil Rajan, claims to have had a narrow escape from a bear near his house. Rajan, who does menial jobs, said he heard a howling sound and saw the bear run towards him. “Though I fell and was injured I ran to safety. I managed to enter the house and close the doors,” Rajan said.

Villagers and Forest Department personnel search for the bear. Photo: Special arrangement

The people of Paliyana in Edavaka Panchayat and in Karingari, Kunnummalangadi, Kommayad and Panamaram have been on alert day and night.

South Wayanad DFO Shajna Karim told Onmanorama that the animal might have returned to the jungle. “There is a possibility that the animal crossed into human habitats from the Kuruva Islands,” said Karim. “It is a rarest of rare incidents that a bear creates such a disturbance in a vast area covering countless villages,” she said.

In the past, there were incidents of bears visiting a particular spot in a remote village in search of honey or fodder, Karim said. “But, here, it is just the struggles of an animal in a panic trying to escape from the human habitat.”

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.