Shrinking Population of Sloth Bears | TechGape

Shrinking Population of Sloth Bears

SHARE:

Shrinking Population of Sloth Bears                                                                                             -Dr. ...

Shrinking Population of Sloth Bears
                                                                                          -Dr. Arvind Singh
The Sloth bear is a species of bear found wild in Indian sub-continent. It is also known as the Stickney bear or Labiated bear. The scientific name of Sloth bear is Melursus ursinus and vernacularly it is called as Bhalu. Sloth bear is the state animal of Bihar. Historically, human beings have drastically reduced their habitat and diminished their population by hunting them for food and product. Sloth bears have been used as performing pets owing to their tamable nature. 

Sloth Bear
Due to reduction in population Sloth bear is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ species in Red List of Threatened Species of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The species which are likely to move into the endangered category is mid-term future if the causal factors continue to operate are known as vulnerable species. However, endangered species are those species which are facing threat of extinction.


Distribution Range:
The Sloth bear is endemic to the Indian sub-continent and found in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. In India Sloth bears are distributed from the Southern tip of the Western Ghats to the foothills of the Himalayas. They are absent in the high mountains of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir and the northwestern deserts of Rajasthan. In Nepal Sloth bears are mainly restricted to Terai, the southern strip of lowland forest and grasslands bordering India. In Bangladesh a few isolated populations occur in Chittagong and Sylhet region of eastern Bangladesh. Sloth bears in Sri Lanka are the mainly confined to northern and eastern lowlands.
 
Physical Characteristics:
Sloth bears are characterized by their lankier builds, longer, shaggier coats (that form a mane around the face), pale muzzles and long white sickle shaped claws. Adult Sloth bears are medium sized with average weight of around 130 kg. They are 60-90 cm high at the shoulder, and have a body length of 1.4 – 1.9 m. Females are smaller than males, and have more fur between the shoulders.


The muzzles of Sloth bear are thick and long, with small jaws and bulbous snouts with wide nostrils. Sloth bears have the longest tail in the bear family which can grow to 15-17.5 cm long. The ears are large and floppy. Sloth bear is the only bear with long hair on its ears. The fur of Sloth bear is black. The coat is long, shaggy and unkempt and is especially heavy behind the neck and between the shoulders forming a mane which is about 30 cm long. The belly and under legs are almost bare.
 
Habitat and Ecology:
Sloth bears prefer a wide range of habitats in India which includes wet and dry tropical forests, scrublands, savannas and grasslands. They are primarily a lowland species. Most Sloth bear range in India and Nepal is confined to habitats below 1500 m, although the species may occur as high as 2,000 m in the forest of Western Ghats. 

Sloth bears subsist primarily on termites, ants and fruits. They locate termite mounds by smell. It possesses several morphological and physiological adaptations to a myrmecophagous (feeding on ants and termites) niche. In tropical dry deciduous forest of Central India they feed on fruits of Ziziphus nummularius (Jharber) and fallen petals of Madhuca longifolia (Mahua). Sloth bears are extremely fond of honey. Hence they often attack the honeycomb for honey.  

Adult Sloth bears travel in pairs with males being gentle with cubs. They may fight for food. They walk in a slow shambling motion. They are excellent climbers and are good swimmers. Sloth bears have great vocal range. They are mostly nocturnal (active at night time) or crepuscular (active at twilight). 


The breeding season for Sloth bears varies according to location. In India they mate in April, May and June and give birth in December and early January. The gestation period is of 210 days. Female typically give birth to one or two cubs in caves or in shelters under boulders. Cubs are born blind and open their eyes after four weeks. Cubs typically ride on mothers back during their first nine months. Cubs remain with their months for 1.5 – 2.5 years. 

Threats to their Survival: 
Habitat loss, poaching, diminished food resources, increased human population, capture of live cubs for use as dancing bears are the threats to the survival of Sloth bears. 

Habitats of Sloth bear have been lost, degraded, and fragmented by the over harvest of forest products (fuel wood, timber, fodder, fruits, honey), establishment of monoculture plantations, expansion of agricultural areas, human settlements and roads. They are vulnerable to habitat loss because of their reliance on lowland areas. 

Sloth bears are poached for commercial trade and for local use as well. The male reproductive organs of the Sloth bears are used as aphrodisiac, bones, teeth and claws are used to ward off evil spirits. The fat of Sloth bear is used as indigenous medicine and for hair regeneration.

Capture of live cubs for use as ‘dancing bears’, is a significant threat in some parts of its distribution range.
Conservation:
An estimated 20,000 Sloth bears exist in the wild in South Asia. Their range reduction indicates that their population has declined by 30 – 49% over the past 30 years largely as a result of habitat loss, exploitation for parts and systematic elimination as a pest.

Sloth bears in India are reported to exist in 174 protected areas which include 46 National Parks and 128 Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Sloth bear is listed on Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The following actions are needed to conserve Sloth bears in India.
  1. To check the habitat loss of Sloth bears.
  2. To restore the degraded habitats of Sloth bears.
  3. To put complete ban on practice of bear dancing entertainment.
  4. To reduce the Human – Sloth bears conflict.
  5. To strictly enforce the Wildlife Protection Act and CITES.
Conclusion: 
It can be concluded that the population of Sloth bear is shrinking chiefly due to habitat loss and exploitation. If the present trend of population reduction would continue then this wild species may soon reach to endangered category. Therefore it is the need of the hour to conserve the Sloth bears by checking their habitat loss and by strict enforcement of Wildlife Protection Act and CITES.
---
Dr. Arvind Singh is M. Sc. and Ph.D. in Botany with area of specialization in Ecology. He is an active Researcher having four dozen of published Research Papers in the journals of national and international fame.

keywords: sloth bear in india, sloth bear images, sloth bear attack, sloth bear habitat, sloth bear adaptations, sloth bear resort karnataka, sloth bear endangered, sloth bear of mysore, sloth bear interesting facts, good facts for sloth bear, sloth bear information, sloth bear food, are sloth bears dangerous, are sloth bears endangered, sloth bear diet, it melursus ursinus

-X-X-X-X-X-

COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 3
Loading...
Name

AS,71,education,4,environment,48,gadgets,6,health,20,lifestyle,12,NKG,23,RR,2,Science Communication,1,science-fiction,10,scientist,4,SM,1,software,3,technology,8,wildlife,29,
ltr
item
TechGape: Shrinking Population of Sloth Bears
Shrinking Population of Sloth Bears
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pCVwPR6JR_c/VujwJkrLSaI/AAAAAAAAJUo/kWokf0nEpj4fTfBw4JNh1_MaIA3gXB-hg/s400/Sloth%2BBears.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pCVwPR6JR_c/VujwJkrLSaI/AAAAAAAAJUo/kWokf0nEpj4fTfBw4JNh1_MaIA3gXB-hg/s72-c/Sloth%2BBears.jpg
TechGape
https://www.techgape.com/2014/11/shrinking-population-of-sloth-bears.html
https://www.techgape.com/
https://www.techgape.com/
https://www.techgape.com/2014/11/shrinking-population-of-sloth-bears.html
true
4732873732247739191
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy