Rubber tapper survives bear attack

MALAYSIA - A bear pounced on a 60-year-old woman and dragged her into a jungle not far from where she was tapping rubber in Kampung Pasir Puteh in Marang, Terengganu.

Asmani Yahya’s painful screams caught the attention of her husband, who threw a sickle at the beast and whacked it with a tree branch to force it to let go of its prey, Harian Metro reported.

Recalling the horrifying incident from her bed at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Kuala Terengganu, Asmani said she and husband Mamat Othman, 63, had gone on their usual routine to tap rubber at their smallholding on Thursday morning.

At around 8.30am, a big black bear suddenly came from behind and clutched her neck with its teeth and dragged her for several metres into the nearby jungle.

“I struggled and screamed but it did not let go. It bit into my head and neck and I screamed some more and said a little prayer.

“Thankfully, my husband heard my cries and picked up a sickle and hurled it at the bear,” she said.

Mamat said he shudders at the thought of what could have happened if he was not nearby to hear his wife’s screams.

Terengganu Wildlife and National Parks Department director Yusoff Shariff said the department has received a report on the incident and would set up traps to prevent animals from the jungle from encroaching into the plantations.