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Sloth Bear at Nagzira Widlife Sanctuary

I remember during our childhood a tamed sloth bear with the Madari showing some tricks and games used to come to our mohalla/street for entertaining the children. Even as late as 1984 on the route from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri a number of sloth bears for entertaining the tourist were deployed by kalandars. Thank God all those things are now over as government has put a ban on the use of sloth bears for entertainment. All those sloth bears have been put in the rescue center at Agra and leading a normal life.

Sloth Bear

One may observe tiger, leopard , elephant in various National Park/wildlife sanctuaries of the country but it is very difficult to sight a sloth bear for the reason that firstly it is nocturnal and secondly its habitat has been reduced drastically and most important they were hunted for the food and products such as their bacula and claws.

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They are insectivorous and native to Indian sub continent. They feed on termites and ants . They also feed on variety of fruits and flowers .In Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra in early March and April one may observe them feeding on mahua flowers lying on the ground. They also climb a tree to knock down the honeycomb from the top and then come down on the ground to relish the sweet honey. In April 2011, i got a chance to see the sloth bear having termites from the ground and then moving in search of honey climbed a tree and knocked down the sweet dish and enjoyed on the ground.

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On our country 3 species of bears are found namely Himalayan black bear, Brown bear and the Sloth bear. As the first two varieties are found in the Himalyan region it is difficult to see them .The Himalayn black bear can be seen in Dachigam National park in Srinagar during the month of September and October when they descend for food before going for hibernation in winters. In other parks it is the Sloth bear which is found and seen .

Sloth Bear at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

If one is interested in seeing them then there are 3 wildlife sanctuaries where one can spot them without much difficulties. Nature lovers from North India can visit Agra bear Rescue Facility (set up in 1999 ).It is located inside the Sur Sarovar Bird sanctuary. The Jessor sloth bear Sanctuary in Gujarat is also a well known place . The most prominent being the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary ,about 20 km from Hampi ,in the State of Karnatka.

I have been to most of the parks of North and Central India during the last 13 years. From my experience I can say that the best place to observe Sloth bears is Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the State of Maharashtra.. Although it is nocturnal but you may find them in the full day light coming to the water body to cool itself. In fact I can share that during my visits to above park I have always seen sloth bear from a close distance.

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The sloth bears are the only bears that carry their young one on their back. I got a chance to shoot them in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in June 2011.

Enjoy the images taken in various parks namely Sariska, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba,Ranthambore and Nagzira.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.