Odisha man tries to click selfie with injured bear, is mauled to death
A man in southern Odisha’s Nabarangpur district who wanted to click a selfie with a wounded bear, paid with his life for his recklessness when the animal mauled him to death on Wednesday evening, forest department officers said on Thursday.
Prabhu Bhatara, who was returning to Papadahandi with a few others in an SUV from Kotapad where they had gone to attend a wedding, had stopped near a forest to attend nature’s call. He then spotted an injured bear and decided to click a selfie with the wild animal.
Although the others in the vehicle cautioned him against doing so, Bhatara came perilously close to the bear which chased him and fatally mauled him. “Bhatara died on the spot,” forest ranger Dhanurjaya Mohapatra said.
The nearest forest office was around 10 km from the site of the attack. The forest officials could recover the body late on Wednesday night after tranquilising the bear. The driver’s fellow passengers who watched the entire act, were busy in shooting the incident on their mobile phones instead of trying to rescue him. A stray dog tried to fight with the bear but failed to save the man from the bear’s grip, forest officials said.
“The bear is being treated for its injuries,” Mohapatra said.
An amount of ₹30,000 was paid to Bhatara’s family for performing his last rites. Angry locals staged a road blockade demanding ex-gratia payment for the kin of the deceased. Forest officials assured them that they would pay the compensation within 15 days.
Earlier this month, a wild bear killed three people, including two forest officials, in Keonjhar district and injured six others. The animal was later beaten to death by locals.
This is the third wild animal related selfie death in Odisha in the past one year.
Last December, a youth was killed by a wild elephant in Angul district when he tried to take a selfie with the animal. The elephant had strayed from its herd and was irritated when the youth came close to it. In September 2017, another young man in Rourkela was trampled to death by a wild elephant while trying to take a selfie with the animal.