Interesting Facts You Need to Know About Sloth Bears in India
Ranthambore National Park is a well-known name in Indian wildlife conservation. The park, which is located in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur, is a popular spot for tiger sightings in India. Nobody will tell you that it is also one of the best places in the world to see a sloth bear. If you're lucky, you might get to see a fight between sloth bears and tigers, which is undoubtedly a thrilling experience on your Ranthambore jungle safari trip.
The sloth bear is the most common of the four species of bears in India. The sloth bear, Melursus ursinus (scientific name), is found in several parts of India, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, and Northeast India. One of the most exciting aspects of a wildlife vacation is seeing a sloth bear in one of these locations.
Things You Need To Know About Sloth Bears
- Unlike other bear species, sloth bears live in dry and moist forests with grasslands, shrubs, and trees for shelter.
- Sloth bears sleep in caves, which is an interesting fact about them.
- Because they do not live in a cold climate, sloth bears do not hibernate.
- Sloth bears eat termites and ants because they are myrmecophagous. Some of them rely on fruits and seeds as well. Scientifically, the sloth bear's distinct characteristics are related to its diet.
- Because sloth bears in India coexist with tigers, they have evolved aggressive behaviour to protect themselves from the tigers. Because of their aggressiveness, tigers may sometimes leave bears alone for the day. On the internet, you can find some thrilling examples of this type of incident. There are two viral videos of a sloth bear chasing away two tigers in Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park. Seeing sloth bears in Ranthambore is an exciting part of a jungle safari, but watching conflicts between big cats and sloth bears is even more thrilling.
- Mother bears carry their cubs on their backs for the first nine months, which is one of the incredible facts about sloth bears.
- Furthermore, when a mother bear enters a den to give birth, she does not leave for eight weeks to find food and water. She leaves the cubs alone in the den after giving birth for two weeks and goes in search of food. The cubs are introduced to the outside world about two weeks after birth.
- Sloth bears have long claws that they use to dig up termites and fight off predators.
- Sloth bears have a gap in the front of their mouths to suck up termites.
- Sloth bears are active at sunrise, sunset, and at night.
Sloth Bears in India
Human-sloth bear conflicts, hunting, poaching, and habitat fragmentation have all recently posed threats to sloth bears in India. The Kalandars are a nomadic tribe who used to kill mother bears in order to sell their cubs and use them in their ancient 'Dancing Bear' tradition. Finally, organisations such as WSPA (The World Society for the Protection of Animals) and Wildlife SOS were successful in eradicating the heinous activity and rehabilitating bears in Bangalore and Agra, respectively, in their largest and second-largest bear rescue centres in the world.
India is home to roughly 90% of the world's population of sloth bears. They mostly live outside of protected areas (wildlife sanctuaries and national parks), so the animals' population status is unknown. According to statistics, India will have between 6,000 and 11,000 sloth bears by 2020.
According to the Ministry of Environment and Forest's National Conservation Action Plan for Bears 2012, the government clearly acknowledges the reasons why we need to save our sloth bears and identifies the importance of saving sloth bears and their habitats, including the corridors.
The sloth bear is a vulnerable species, according to the IUCN Red List, and it is listed in Schedule One of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Because of its proximity to human populations, there have been several instances of human-sloth bear conflict, as sloth bears, according to popular belief, see humans as predators. There have been several reports of sloth bear attacks on humans. This is one of the primary reasons why India should prioritise sloth bear conservation.
The Best Places to Spot Sloth Bears in India
- Sloth Bears can be found in national parks in South India, as well as dry forests in the Western Ghats and Central India.
- The Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Karnataka provides the best sightings.
- Other South Indian national parks where sloth bears can be seen include BRT, Bandipur, Kudremukh, Anshi, and others.
- Sloth Bears can be found in other parts of India where they coexist with big cats, such as Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba, Pench, and Ranthambore, where their population is growing alongside other wildlife in Ranthambore National Park.
Photo Courtesy: Google