Chhattisgarh with its tropical dry deciduous forests along with patches of rocky terrain serves as a suitable habitat for the sloth bear population in the country. Rapid human encroachment into the scrub forests and settlements in the buffer area periphery has led to an increased number of man-animal conflict situations. Habitat degradation and diminishing food resources has pushed the wildlife out of the fragmented forests and into the human inhabited regions that has further exposed them to hostility and conflict situations.
Earlier last week, an innocent and famished bear ended up at the bottom of a 45-foot-deep well after it ventured out of the adjoining forest in search of some easily accessible food. Causing quite the stir with its unexpected appearance at a wedding, the bear shook the gathering while it raided the wedding feast.
Making its way into the kitchen, the four-legged wedding crasher was enjoying a hearty meal when the startled guests decided to take care of the situation and ended up causing mayhem at the function. Confused and helpless, the gate crasher ran amok and ended up injuring four people, inviting double trouble his way. Unfortunately, the mutual state of panic shared by the wedding attendees and the visitor escalated quickly. The mob in retaliation soon turned hostile towards it and chased after the large animal to drive it away from the crowd and into the neighborhood.
Less did the bear know that even though it escaped the fright of a mob attack, it fell victim to another human induced menace of uncovered wells. Dotted across the margins of agricultural fields that lay on close proximities to forest covers, these uncovered wells are often the cause of death of numerous wild animals. While the bear was trapped inside the well, the worried onlookers alerted the Chhattisgarh Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS team based out of Mahasamund, who instantly rushed to the location.
After a thorough assessment of the situation, it was decided to first immobilize the bear for a safer extrication. Carrying out the needful, the Forest Department veterinarian tranquilized the distressed bear. While time was running out, the team knew they had to act fast to save the bear’s life as she might have sustained injuries because of the great leap. Hence, without any further delay the team collectively made a massive makeshift ladder by tying together three large ladders, so they could reach to the bottom of the 45-foot-deep well.
As the giant ladder was lowered down, a team of trackers gradually went down to carry out the extraction. The sedated bear was carefully placed onto a safety net. Following a tiresome 20-hour long operation, the bear was lifted out of the well and was examined on-site for any injuries. Luckily, the bear was deemed fit for release and was released back into the wild.
Even though the adult female bear was fortunate enough to have survived the fall, the incident speaks volumes of the peril that the wildlife stands forth. In the recent years, the state has witnessed a surge in incidents of man-animal conflicts, predominantly relating to sloth bears. Animals like elephants, wild boar, blue bulls are forced out of their diminishing natural habitat and into the nearby remote village, wherein the lives of both man and animal is threatened. Even though, with the current scale of development and expansion such incidents are inevitable, the grave need of the hour is to meet these majestic animals with tolerance and co-exist peacefully.