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Youth killed in bear attack in Bengal tea garden

Youth killed in bear attack in Bengal tea garden
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Jalpaiguri (WB): An 18-year-old youth was allegedly killed by a Himalayan Black Bear in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, following which irate locals beat the animal to death, a forest officer said on Thursday.

The incident took place in Meteli tea garden when class 11 student Dinesh Khalkho was visiting home from Nagrakata Eklavya Residential School on Wednesday to see his ailing father, he said.

Locals found the student's mutilated body in the tea garden, and later saw the bear roaming in the area, suspecting that the animal had killed him, the officer said.

A few policemen and forest personnel went to the area but they could not prevent the mob from attacking and killing the Himalayan Black Bear, which is a vulnerable species, he said.

A huge police contingent under the Malbazar SDPO was then sent to the area to bring the situation under control.

Though incidents of elephant and leopard attacks are common in the Dooars region, bear attacks were never heard of before. The bear is suspected to have come down from the nearby hills, he said.

"After elephants and leopards, now even bears are venturing into human habitations for food. This is a result of massive deforestation in north Bengal for developmental projects," a local environmentalist said.

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