Titlagarh: Panic ensued at Padmanabhapur here after a bear strayed into the town and injured nine people in its attack Friday.
According to sources, the bear was first spotted wandering inside a mango orchard besides the house of Bishnu Jhunjhunwala. Soon, locals gathered at the spot and tried to drive the animal away, but in vain.
Thereupon, a team of forest personnel rushed to the spot. Meanwhile, the bear became furious after the repeated pelting of stones and in retaliation pounced on forester Dev Parida and a driver Kurnakar Bag.
The duo was rescued with critical injuries and admitted to the local government hospital.
Forest officials tried for hours to cage the animal. Later, a tranquiliser team was requisitioned from Bhawanipatna that reached hours later with a cage.
The team burnt torches and tried to drive the bear towards the cage. But the animal went inside a bush behind a temple.
Bolangir DFO Rashmiranjan Nayak, assistant conservator of forest Nalini Kanta Jaysingh and other forest officials reached the spot.
On being outraged after locals pelted stones at it, the bear again launched an attack on the people.
At least nine people were injured in the attack. Among the injured were, a reporter Satyabrata Panda, Pankaj Bhoi, Narayan Bag, Motilal Kumbhar, Shyam Hati and Debnath Singh. All of them were admitted to Titilagarh government hospital.
Panic gripped residents of the locality with women and children remaining indoors while men armed with lathis standing guard.
Locals attributed the frequent straying of wild animals into human habitations to large scale deforestation.
They accused the forest department of failing to take appropriate steps to save forests and protect wild animals.
The bear was not captured while the forest officials and the tranquiliser team were on their toes to capture it when this report was filed. PNN