Bear Pounces on Man From Behind, Mauling His Back and Legs

A bear in India has pounced on a man and mauled his back and legs.

Sukadev Mahakuda, 65, had been traveling home through the Nagada forest in the Indian state of Odisha when a sloth bear pounced, attacking him from behind, the Times of India reported.

Mahakuda grabbed a nearby bamboo stick in a bid to fight the bear off and it eventually loosened its grip allowing him to flee. He was rushed to hospital after suffering injuries to his back and legs. He is currently undergoing treatment and is in a weak condition, the Time of India reported.

Sloth bears, which live throughout India, Sri Lanka and southern Nepal, are considered one of the most dangerous animals in Asia.

Sloth bear
A stock photo shows a sloth bear. A sloth bear in India pounced on a man and mauled his back and leg before he managed to flee. gnagel/Getty

Only an estimated 20,000 or fewer remain in the wild, but the bears are notorious for attacks on humans. Incidents like that involving Mahakuda have increased in recent years, and over a dozen people are estimated to be killed by the species every year, National Geographic reported in 2020.

Local villager, Manamohan Jena told the Times of India that bear attacks such as the one Mahakuda was injured in have become "routine" in the area.

The villager said local people are "living in continuous fear" as they do not have proper protection from the sloth bears.

Most predators do not attack humans unless directly provoked or they feel their territory is threatened.

But researchers suspect that sloth bears have more of a tendency to attack compared with other species.

In July 2022, India-based conservation non-profit Wildlife SOS published a study noting several reasons why sloth bears appear to be more aggressive towards humans.

The study reported that the aggression could be down to evolutionary factors. Since the species co-evolved with tigers, which are their natural predators in the wild, the bears may be more prone to "innate defensive-aggressive responses to surprise (sudden)" encounters. According to studies, 2 percent of a Bengal tiger's diet may be comprised of sloth bear.

Although Mahakuda survived, the victims of other sloth bear attacks have not been so lucky.

In July 2022 a bear killed three people and severely injured two others in Samarsingh village in Odisha, reported local news outlet Odisha TV.

Those killed were identified as Ratan Majhi, Nakul Majhi and Rabi Rana.

Ratan Majhi had gone to collect firewood but did not return. Nakul Majhi, Rana and two other villagers, Parameswar Majhi and Kuna Majhi, then went to look for him. While they searched, the bear emerged from some bushes and attacked them.

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