Wildlife lovers, rejoice! Evidence of the presence of a sloth bear has been discovered in the Jambeshwar forest area which is situated near Udaipur. The sloth bear, belonging to the Myrmecophagous bear species, is native to the Indian subcontinent. It mainly feeds on fruits, ants and other small insects. It is listed on the IUCN Red List in the ‘vulnerable’ category.
The discovery was made by some forest trekkers in Udaipur. Wildlife photographers Vidhana Dwivedi, Manas Dixit, Vedang Sakhedkar, and Bhanu Pratap Singh on Thursday witnessed numerous signs of the presence of a sloth bear inside the Jambeshwar forest area next to Baghdara in Udaipur.
Vidhan Dwivedi told the media that he found nail marks of sloth bears on the bark of a tree bearing wild plums. At the same time, the group also spotted a crashed beehive beneath the tree, indicating the presence of sloth bears in this area. According to him, this is probably the first appearance of a sloth bear that has been recorded near Udaipur. Utkarsh Prajapati, a bear researcher, echoed Dwivedi’s observations.
Former Chief Conservator of Forests Rahul Bhatnagar said that there were unconfirmed reports of sloth sightings near Udaipur. There was also news of the appearance of a group of sloths during the lockdown period. Expressing happiness at the findings, Bhatnagar has asked the group to search for its footprints, droppings, hair etc. to confirm its presence.
Sloth bears are typically known to have long, shaggy fur, a noticeable mane around the face, and long, sickle-shaped claws. They are slimmer in size compared to brown and Asian black bears. Since it uses its long lower lip to suck out the juice out of its prey, it is also known as the ‘labiated bear’. Sloth bears start mating in spring and early summer and give birth to their young at the beginning of winter. They sometimes attack humans if threatened.