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Dilip Kumar

Jeypore: Panic gripped the residents at Ladijodi village under Borigumma block here in Koraput district for last several days after six sloth bears are found moving around the village in the night.

Locals said the animals sneak into the human settlement soon after the sunset and roam around till late night before leaving for forest in the morning. The bears continue to come to the village area from a nearby forest in search of food for last six days, they added.

One woman of the same village was also injured in the attack by a bear, villagers said. Apprehending further attack, villagers fear to venture outside their houses after sunset.

They demanded the forest officials to drive away the animals into the forest before the animals cause any further damage to lives and properties of the local residents.

Though forest officials are aware of the incident, they are yet to visit the village to enquire about the matter, locals alleged.

"We can't even go outside in the evening hour for defecation, fearing attack by bears. We request the forest officials to take measures to prevent the animals from straying into village area", said Gupta Kumar, a resident of Ladijodi.

The wild animals enter the village area due to shrinking forest cover caused by massive deforestation during winter season to feast on crops, sources said.

Earlier on December 23, a bear had sneaked into human habitation triggering panic among locals at Amapani near Dharmagarh in Kalahandi district on Wednesday night. The animal had roamed around for an hour. A video of the animal roaming around the Budharaja temple at Amapani was doing rounds on social media.

To prevent the wild animals from straying into human settlement, the Forest department, as per norms, should fence the area in the forest where the bears move.

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