Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) are endemic to the Indian subcontinent and frequently come into conflict with humans. In the North Bilaspur Forest Division, a total of 137 attacks (resulting in 11 deaths) occurred between April 1998 and December 2000. Most (54%) incidents took place during the monsoon season. Attacks occurred (45%) early in the morning (0400–0800 hrs) more frequently than at other times; human activities at the time of attack were most frequently defecation (27%); locations of attacks were in kitchen gardens, crop fields, and in adjoining forests. A single bear was involved in a majority (56%) of incidents, but groups of 2 (20%) and 3 (21%) bears were also involved. Attacks were predominantly by a single bear (93%) and rarely by 2 (4%) or 3 bears. In most cases, the attacking bear ran away (55%) or was chased by other people (39%) or livestock. Most victims suffered multiple injuries (52%); single injuries on legs (25%), hand (12%), and head (8%) regions were also recorded.
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Vol. 16 • No. 2