Odishatv Bureau

Balasore: Panic gripped the Rainga village under Nilagiri NAC in the district after a wild bear was spotted by locals wandering about in the rice fields on the outskirts of the village on Monday morning.

According to sources, the animal first sneaked into human settlements in the village before moving to the farmlands.

In a video of the animal’s foray into the village, which has gone viral, the full-grown sloth bear is clearly seen wandering in the rice fields before melting into the thick vegetation in the vicinity.

Locals believe the bear might have turned to human settlements from the nearby forest in search of food.

Though there has been no report of any attack by the wild animal, villagers are nevertheless in a state of fear as the present location of the bear is still to be ascertained.

Forest department officials are yet to comment on the sighting of the bear in the village.

It’s not for the first time wild bears have been found entering human settlements in Odisha.

On December 31, 2020 six sloth bears were seen roaming at Ladijodi village under Borigumma block in Koraput for several days triggering panic among the villagers.

Massive deforestation and destruction of wild habitats by humans are causing repeated human-animal encounters in the State.