The incident is the latest animal selfie-related death in India.
A man who spotted a wounded bear while driving home from a wedding made a fatal mistake when he tried to approach the creature to take a selfie — and his terrified friends caught it all on video.
The Indian man, Prabhu Bhatara, was driving with a group of friends when they stopped to use a bathroom. While there, they saw a large bear that had been injured, and Bhatara decided to approach the animal. Despite the objections of his friends, Bhatara walked up to the bear to try to take a selfie with it — and instead was mauled to death. As Independent reported, the man’s friends filmed the horrific attack while standing a safe distance away.
The bear attacked quickly as Prabhu approached it, apparently catching the man by surprise. He struggled to free himself and a stray dog even tried to help the man, but the animal made quick work of him. A forest ranger said that Bhatara “died on the spot.”
The man’s death is part of a troubling trend in India. As the Independent noted, the nation has the highest rate of accidental deaths while taking a selfie — 60 percent of all worldwide selfie deaths take place in India.
Earlier this year, a man was killed in India while trying to take a selfie while standing in front of a moving train. The man misjudged how close to the track he was standing, and the train struck him as it passed, the BBC noted. Video of the man’s final moments went viral, highlighting the risks many people were taking in order to impress others on social media.
The trend is a problem beyond India. Last year, the dating app Tinder had to ban the use of selfies with a live tiger, which had become popular. As the animal rights organization PETA noted, the use of these selfies contributed to the mistreatment of the animals and posed danger to the people taking them.
The man mauled to death by a bear is actually not the first animal selfie-related death. As Newsweek noted, two people were killed in separate incidents late last year when they tried to take selfies with wild elephants.
Park rangers had to tranquilize the bear that killed Prabhu Bhatara so the man’s body could be removed. The bear is now being treated for its injuries, a forest ranger said.
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