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Search on for sloth bear on Telangana’s Satavahana University campus

Search on for sloth bear on Telangana’s Satavahana University campus

The university authorities suspended the classes at all colleges on the campus to facilitate the ongoing operation by the forest authorities to track down the bear, which was sighted on the campus on March 10.

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Hyderabad: Operation by forest authorities to trap the sloth bear, which strayed into Satavahana University campus in Telangana’s Karimnagar district, continued on Tuesday.

The university authorities suspended the classes at all colleges on the campus to facilitate the ongoing operation by the forest authorities to track down the bear, which was sighted on the campus on March 10.

Forest officials continued their operation for a sixth day on the sprawling campus. They installed camera traps, cages, and food to lure the animal but their efforts have not yielded any results.

Besides suspending the classes, the university authorities have also restricted the movement on the campus as a precautionary measure. Around 300 students are staying on the campus and they have been asked not to step out. The university staff remained on their tenterhooks.

The rescue team of the Forest Department, which came from Warangal, is staying in the university campus for the operation.

Forest Range Officer (FRO) Gantala Srinivas Reddy said they installed camera traps at vantage points on the 200-acre campus to track the wild animal. However, the camera traps have not yet captured it.

According to District Forest Officer Balamani, 10 camera traps have been installed to track the movement of the sloth bear. She said they also used drone cameras as part of the operation.

The rescue team has also set up four trap cages. Groundnuts, bananas, honey and jaggery are among the food items that have been placed in the cages to trap the animal.

A student at the women’s hostel had first sighted the sloth bear. She captured it on her mobile phone camera. Some dogs are seen barking at the bear. She alerted the university authorities.

Vice Chancellor Mallesham said they informed the Forest Department, which sent experts to track and trap the animal.

As the campus has two ponds, the forest personnel were focusing their efforts on areas around the ponds as they expected the sloth bear to come there for water.

The land allotted to Satavahana University was once a part of forest. The authorities have built a few buildings over the last 13 years.

Earlier, sloth bears were also sighted near BSNL office and Police Commissioner’s office. Experts say with dwindling forests due to rapid urbanisation, wild animals may be straying into human habitations for food and water.

Areas surrounding Karimnagar town used to have dense forests. However, in recent years the forests, rocks and lakes have disappeared due to increasing construction activity.