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Dehradun, November 20
Besides frequent leopard attacks, the people of Uttarakhand are also facing threat to their lives from bears. A total of 407 incidents of bears attacking humans have been recorded in the state since its inception in 2000.
Three species of bears, namely the sloth bear, Asiatic black bear and the Himalayan brown bear, are found in the state. A healthy population of black bears has been reported from Pithoragarh, Uttarkashi and Tehri forest divisions. Other forest divisions with comparatively a good black bear population are Champawat, Nainital, and Badrinath regions.
Bear attacks on humans are quite frequent in the state. The state wildlife authorities have recorded 19 human deaths and injuries to 388 persons, including many critically, in bear attacks since the formation of Uttarakhand. Besides, incidents of bears killing livestock like cows, horses, bullocks, and buffalos and damaging crops are also rampant.
One of the most vulnerable regions has been Joshimath in Chamoli district. Bear attacks on human settlements are quite frequent in Joshimath. Even in the past one month, bears have killed 12 livestock in Auli, close to Joshimath. Villagers have appealed to the state Forest Department for immediate remedial measures.
Bageshwar, Almora, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Nainital, Uttarkashi, Pauri, and Chamoli districts have witnessed frequent bear attacks. The incidents of bears lifting cattle have been quite common in Bageshwar and Uttarkashi districts.
Harendra Singh Bargali from the Corbett Foundation, who has been closely monitoring human-bear conflicts in Uttarakhand, said a detailed study on the trends in the conflict scenario was needed. He added generally human-leopard conflicts get prominence and the rising problem of human-bear conflicts was often ignored. He also favoured the monitoring of the bear population in these vulnerable areas.
Bear attacks increase during the winter when these animals descend to lower areas of the valley. They move to lower areas due to snowfall in the higher reaches and target human settlements in search of food.
Social activist Munish Kumar said it was strange that while the Uttarakhand forest authorities were coming up with a State Bear Conservation Action Plan, they were least concerned about the people facing bear attacks.
Conflict zone
  • There have been 19 human deaths and injuries to 388 persons, including many critical, in bear attacks since the formation of Uttarakhand
  • Joshimath in Chamoli district, Bageshwar, Almora, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Nainital, Uttarkashi, Pauri, and Chamoli districts have witnessed frequent bear attacks
  • Bear attacks increase during the winter when these animals descend to lower areas of the valley


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