A bear killed three people in India and severely injured two others before it was beaten to death by angry locals.
The attack occurred in Samarsingh village, in the Nuapada district in Odisha on July 15, reported local news outlet Odisha TV.
Those killed were identified as Ratan Majhi, Nakul Majhi and Rabi Rana.
According to officials, Ratan Majhi had gone to collect firewood but did not return by the late afternoon. Nakul Majhi, Rana and two other villagers called Parameswar Majhi and Kuna Majhi then went to look for him.
While they searched, the bear emerged from the bushes and attacked. The bear, which had already killed Ratan Majhi, then mauled Nakul Majhi and Rana.
The forest, police and fire departments were called to the scene, where they found the three dead bodies. Parameswar Majhi and Kuna Majhi escaped with injuries and were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Following the attack, angry local villagers hunted down and beat the animal to death, local media reported.
A similar incident occurred in June, when a sloth bear killed a man and woman in India before feasting on their remains for hours.
Mukesh Rai and his wife Gudiya were on their way home from a temple in Panna when the bear attacked.
At the time, The Times of India reported that the bear “tore their bodies apart,” eating their remains for at least four hours before authorities arrived.
The bear was later tranquilized and captured by officials.
The species of bear involved in the most recent attack has not been specified. India is home to eight species, including the Asiatic Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Sloth Bear and Sun Bear. Sloth bears have a reputation for being aggressive towards humans and are considered one of the most dangerous wild animals in the country.
They can be found in forests and grasslands across India, and grow up to 423 pounds.
According to 2015 data taken across central India, bear attack victims mostly suffered injuries to their scalps or faces.
Bears do not usually attack humans unless they feel provoked, or that their territory is threatened.
Attacks occur more frequently in villages that border rural areas. Some populated areas in India lie in close proximity to national parks and habitats for wildlife.
Human and wildlife conflict has been increasing in recent years, as human settlements continue to expand onto these habitats. Food and water resources are also dwindling, partly due to climate change. This is causing wildlife to venture further away from their habitats in search of resources, meaning they are coming into contact with humans more frequently.