- A sloth bear has mauled a couple to death in Madhya Pradesh, central India.
- An autopsy confirmed the bear had contracted rabies but had not fed on the corpses.
- Dependents of the deceased couple will be given 400,000 Indian Rupees ($5,118) in compensation.
- For more stories visit Business Insider.
A rabid sloth bear has mauled a couple to death in Madhya Pradesh, central India, and played with their remains, Indian news outlets report.
The Times of India said that the couple had gone to pray at a nearby temple when they encountered the sloth bear on June 5.
The newspaper identified the deceased as 43-year-old Mukesh Rai and his wife, 39-year-old Gudiya Rai. The husband was killed when he tried to rescue his wife from the bear's clutches, according to CBS News.
Witness reports from earlier in the week that the bear ate parts of the couple after it had killed them, have been refuted, CBS News reported. The bear died two hours after it was captured, Divisional Forest Officer Gaurav Sharma told CBS News.
An autopsy confirmed the bear had contracted rabies but had not fed on the corpses, Sharma confirmed, said the news outlet.
The Times reports that the dependents of the deceased couple will be given 400,000 Indian Rupees ($5,118) in compensation.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, sloth bears are similar in size to the American back bear and grow up to 1.8 metres long, weighing, on average, 90 to 136 kilograms. They have a shaggy, dusty appearance and have large canines for defence. About 20,000 or fewer sloth bears remain in the wild.
A study from HNG University, Gujarat, said sloth bears are "known for their aggressive and unpredictable behavior." Attacks are increasing as human activity increasingly impinges on the bears' home territories and 13.7% of sloth bear attacks result in death, said the study.
Conservation biologist Neha Sinha told CBS News that conflicts between bears and humans at this time of year are often caused by the Mahua tree flowering. Bears go to feed on the flower whilst humans harvest them to sell, and the bears can become territorial.
A study published in March found that in India, Sloth bear attacks are most common in the Madhya Pradesh region.