Himalayan bear enters Gangtok amid lockdown, attacks BSNL employee

Himalayan bear enters Gangtok amid lockdown, attacks BSNL employee

With people locked-up in their homes due to the 21-day lockdown, animals and birds are entering the cities due to lack of noise or limited human activity. Recently, Sikkim had a brush with the wild on April 1 when a bear of the Himalayan foothills travelled miles downwards in search of food.

Finding an unusually quiet Sikkim with streets deserted, the bear entered the heart of the city and went as far as the BSNL office in the heart of the Gangtok.

A junior engineer, on essential duty, was coming out of his office early morning last week when he saw the bear. Before he could run away, the bear gave him a blow, clawing out the skin from his skull. The cry and wails of the engineer alerted police patrolling the area.

The bear, meanwhile, went inside the telephone exchange office and took cover in a room following which police bolted doors from outside. Police kept a watch from terraces of adjacent houses, beat drums and made noise to scare away the animal. The forest officials took another three days to tranquilise the animal and send it to the zoo before moving it out finally to the forests on April 4.

Secretary to the Chief Minister SD Dhakal said after hibernation, bears wake up confused and often enter civilian areas while looking for food. We have taken care to send it back to the jungle after feeding it," Dhakal added.