In the month of November there were a spate of attacks by Himalayan Black Bears in various towns in Sikkim. All of a sudden the bears had begun to scavenge on garbage dumps invariably creating a man-animal conflict. The issue was becoming quite serious with the number of casualties increasing and the forest department finding itself incapable of handling the situation. Instead of trying to understand the root cause of the issue the forest department was only interested in tranquillising the bears and getting them back into the forest. this exercise proved to be an expensive one as the inexperienced Chief Conservator of Wildlife was badly mauled by a bear during this activity.
At a time when everybody seemed to be more concerned about protecting human lives rather than those of the bears , there was one person who stood out for them. My good friend and IFS officer Sandeep Tambe decided to write an article in the local newspaper to educate the people regarding the real issue. As it turned out, the issue was that there was an autumn famine in the forests because of which there was a severe shortage of bear food in the forest. The article below finally prompted the forest department to rethink the problem with a different mindset.