Viet Nam News
NGHỆ AN — A farmer in the central province of Nghệ An was attacked by a bear while he was searching for dong leaves in a local forest.
Sầm Văn Hân, 28, went to the forest at 8am on Monday to gather dong leaves, which is used to wrap the traditional bánh chưng (glutinuos square cake) to sell to locals.
At around 2pm, he reached Phá Huống forest, located on the border of Quế Sơn and Quang Phong communes, and came across a wild black bear, some 1.7m tall.
The animal attacked Hân before he could react. Hân lay down, pretending to be dead, but the bear still hit him on the head.
After the bear left, Hân managed to go to the nearest residential area, where locals sent him to Quế Phong District Health Care Centre.
Lô Văn Thoàn, deputy director of the health care told online newspaper VNExpress that the victim was received at the centre while he was awake, highly conscious of things happening around, with scratched skin on his head and some injuries to his back and arms.
"There are some scratches deep to his bones made by the bear’s nails," Hoàn said adding that the open injuries would be stitched and the victim would be kept at the centre for a few days.
According to residents of Páo 2 Village, Quang Phong Commune, the aggressive bear has lived in the local primitive forest for many years. Many villagers have tried to trap the bear but have failed.
The bear has become a cause of worry for the local people, and they hope the relevant agencies will take steps to protect them not only from the bear but from other wild animals as well.
According to Quế Phong District’s forest rangers, there are no farms in the locality raising bears so it is unlikely that the bear is domesticated.
Trần Thế Liên, head of Special Use and Preventive Forest Management Department under the Forestry Directorate, told Việt Nam News that he was both sad and happy on hearing the news.
“I felt sad for the victim but was happy to know that there were still wild animals wandering around,” he said.
According to Liên, there are some 1,000 bears living in cages around the country, although there have been no specific statistics for wild bears that live in special used and preventive forests.
Special used forests cover 2.2 million ha across the country, including 32 national parks and nature reserves.
The Pù Huống Nature Reserve covers an area of 40,000 ha and spans across Quỳ Châu, Quỳ Hợp, Con Cuông and Tương Dương districts.
Liên said there were two kinds of wild bears in the country — gấu ngựa (Asiatic Black Bear) and gấu chó (Malayan Sun Bear).
“We will soon send letters to local forest rangers in Nghệ An Province to further keep a watch over wild animals in general and wild bears in particular and educate locals to avoid entering primitive forests to stay away from wild animals. We will also discuss with experts from the Animal Asia Foundation to draft a plan to protect both caged bears and wild bears in the country,” Liên said.
He warned that when face to face with a wild bear, people should avoid approaching it closer or poking it. — VNS