Thursday, March 19, 2009

Interesting facts about sloth bear.

An endangered mammal species, this is usually found in the lowland and grassland regions of the Indian forests. This hairy animal known as melursus urisnus or the Lip bear has a large lip and long back and untidy hair and has a white or yellow chest mark that is shaped like U, V or Y and a grey face. It face is interestingly without hair. It can even close its nostrils as a protective measure from dust and insects.

Fallen fragrant flower from the mahua plant is its chief food in the hot summer, which is why it is also known as the honey bear. Other preferred foods are birds’ eggs, fruits and insects, and even putrefying fish when extremely hungry. Though its gait is unsteady, the sloth bear climbs trees easily. It even climbs the date palm trees to drink the toddy.

This is a nocturnal animal that sleeps during the day in shallow caves, but does not hibernate. Two to three cubs are born at a time; the gestation period is eight months. The mother usually carries its cubs on its back on its nocturnal food-hunting and while climbing.

This is quite a rare animal and hence the Sloth Bear Foundation is taking steps to protect and preserve this endangered species and their habitats from poaching.

Source: The Hindu, March 10, 2009
Images: Google