Indonesia: ‘Savage’ Bear Mauls Farmer in Rare Attack

Jakarta Globe 4 Feb 14;

A wild bear attacked a 52-year-old farmwoman on Monday in Salak Baru, an island in central Sumatra’s Jambi province.

“It’s true, a resident of Salak [Baru] island was the victim of a savage animal, and the victim has been taken to Sarolangun hospital,” Sarolangun Police Chief Adj. Sr. Cmr. Ridho Hartawan told news portal “We will coordinate with the BKSDA [Natural Resources Conservation Agency] to handle it, as the animal that attacked the resident is a protected animal, so we need to coordinate with related institutions.

The victim, Nursijah, 52, received treatment for severe wounds.

The state-run Antara news agency reported that Nursijah, a farmer, was fetching wood underneath her traditional rumah panggung [stilt house] at 8:00 a.m. when she noticed the bear in a moment of mutual surprise.

The bear mauled her and tried to bite her head, she said, while she lay on the ground screaming.

When local residents came to help, the bear fled into the jungle. Nursijah suffered wounds on her head and body. Residents took her to a nearby public health center, whereupon she was transferred to the hospital.

The attacker was likely a sun bear, which are native to Sumatra. Sun bears eat mostly fruit and insects and are known for their unslakeable lust for honey.

Although they are the smallest of bears, they sometimes attack without provocation, according to the BBC.

Like slow lorises, orangutans, and other Sumatran mammals, sun bears face habitat loss, which can lead to human-animal conflict.