Bear attack Siberia
A 9-year-old boy's arm was bitten off in a bear attack. Reuters

A bear savaged the arm of a boy who tried to feed the animal through its cage in central China on Sunday.

The accident happened when the nine-year-old attempted to give it food through the bars of its cage, said a doctor and state media.

The boy was pushing his arm into the bear enclosure at Pingdingshan Hebin Park in Henan province, when the animal caught hold of him.

Medical staff at Pingdingshan Number 152 treated the child and a doctor said that the boy had lost his entire right arm, which needed to be amputated.

Bear attacks are rare although according to the Journal of Emergency Medicine, there were 162 bear-inflicted injuries reported in the US between 1900 and 1985. This amounts to two reported bear-inflicted injuries per year.

Jeffrey Tittel, director of environmental organisation New Jersey Sierra Club, said bears were usually are docile and afraid of people. He noted however that most bear attacks were related to people having food.

Most bears will avoid people, Tittel said, but bears that have been fed or exposed to food from humans, see people as a source of food and can become aggressive.

Pingdingshan Hebin Park in Henan province
Pingdingshan Hebin Park in Henan province. Official Website of Rushan

"Ten years ago, we were spending over $2.5m (£1.6m) a year on bear education and now we are spending a 10th of that," said Tittel, adding that New Jersey has been using a hunting instead of a bear management plan.

Animal experts report that wild bears are exhibiting a new behaviour pattern by not going into hibernation during the winter period, raising the concern of increased numbers of man-animal conflict.

DVS Khati, chief wildlife warden told Times of India: "The behavioural change in bears where their hibernation activity has drastically reduced is not only confined to Uttarakhand, but is a global phenomenon. There are several reasons responsible for it; global warming is another reason.

"Leftovers by people also attract their attention, as they enter human settlements for easy availability of food."