Rashmi Rekha Das

Two forest officials sustained injuries after being attacked by a bear at north Similipal Chahala range on Tuesday. The injured were part of a five-member team of forest protection guards that had set out into the reserve forest to carry out tiger census. They were rushed to a hospital and are undergoing treatment. 

According to sources, tiger census has begun in the Tiger Reserve of Similipal National Park in Mayurbhanj district from June 6 and will continue for seven days. At present, tiger counting is being carried out at 173 places of 16 ranges of the reserve. More than 500 forest officials have been engaged for the pre-monsoon tiger census survey which will culminate on June 13. 

Assistant Conservator of Forest said “For the first three days, our forest guards and PA staff will carry out the sign survey. They will roam around five kilometres everyday and collect pug marks and skulls. It’s no doubt a Herculean task to do the survey in the scorching heat by foot.  That’s why, our two forest guards were injured while carrying out the drive Tuesday. They were rushed to Jashipur hospital for further treatment after being administered first-aid treatment.”

A woman forest official said, “We never get afraid of getting into forest for tiger census. We feel forest is our second home. But we remain careful to avoid any mishap.”