A man visiting a forest park in the eastern Indian state of Odisha was mauled to death by a bear last week while trying to take a selfie with the animal, according to forest department officers.
The Hindustan Times reported that Prabhu Bhatara was on his way with a group from a wedding in Kotapad, India. He spotted the injured bear while attending to “nature’s call” near a forest and approached the bear despite the group cautioning against it.
The bear reportedly chased Bhatara before killing him on the spot.
“The driver’s fellow passengers who watched the entire act, were busy in shooting the incident on their mobile phones instead of trying to rescue him,” the Times reported. According to forest officials, a stray dog tried to fight the bear but could not rescue Bhatara.
The bear, which was tranquilized Wednesday night after the attack, is being treated for its injuries. Bhatara’s body was also recovered Wednesday.
According to the Times, this is the third wild animal selfie death reported in the Odisha region in the past year.
In December, a young man attempted to take a selfie with a wild elephant in Odisha’s Angul district and was attacked. He sustained severe injuries and died under treatment. A similar incident occurred in September, when a man in the Rourkela district was trampled to death by a wild elephant.
In 2015, “about half” of at least 27 “selfie related” deaths occurred in India, the Washington Post reported in January 2016. Between 2014 and August 2016, the Indian Ministry of Tourism found evidence of at least 54 selfie-related deaths in the country, prompting states to identify and barricade “selfie danger” areas.
And the dangers of selfie-related injuries and deaths is increasing.
“Clicking selfies has become a symbol of self-expression and often people portray their adventurous side by uploading crazy selfies. This has proved to be dangerous,” a study conducted by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and India’s Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology found. Researchers said the trend has become “so disastrous that during the year 2015 alone, there have been more deaths caused due to selfies than shark attacks all over the world.”
The analysis found that there were 127 so-called selfie deaths reported across the globe since March 2014. And selfie-related accidents have increased from 15 in 2014, to 39 the next year, to 73 in September 2016.
With eight recorded, the United States ranks third in selfie-related deaths, after India and Pakistan, according to the study.
"We believe that the study can inspire and provide footprints for technologies which can stop users from clicking dangerous selfies," the report said, "and thus preventing more of such casualties."
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