Sloth Bear and Tiger Encounter, Nagarahole, Karnataka

Vikram Hiresavi


Vikram Hiresavi

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Sloth bears can be ferocious and unpredictable when encountered. Sloth bears, especially females, aggressively defend their young and can take on even adult tigers. The bears will stand on their hind-limbs with their long shaggy coats in an attempt to look bigger and intimidating and it will be tigers that usually back off.

This image was taken on the 13th of April 2021 in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. A sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) was ambling along a path heading towards a lantana thicket, where a tiger was earlier spotted resting. Suddenly loud growls erupted as a fight broke out between the two. The hassled tiger came running out of the thicket and growled back, returning to where the bear stood in a show of resistance. Eventually, the ferocity of the bear drove the tiger away. The tiger, however, returned a few minutes later, after the bear had left, to reclaim its old resting place.

Sloth bears can be ferocious and unpredictable when encountered. Sloth bears, especially females, aggressively defend their young and can take on even adult tigers. The bears will stand on their hind-limbs with their long shaggy coats in an attempt to look bigger and intimidating and it will be tigers that usually back off.

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