A close encounter with a Sloth Bear

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A close encounter with a Sloth Bear-WCT Blog

For several years, I had hoped to see a sloth bear in the wild and every time I visited the forest on WCT work, I would keep my eyes peeled for signs of its presence. In March 2014, I had a close encounter with one that made me realise just how much difference 10 minutes can make when you are out in the forest! I was in the West Pench range of the Pench Tiger reserve helping the rest of team set up camera traps. On March 1st, I went into the forest, accompanied by a guard, to check on the location of one of our traps. It had been set up on a forest road that was frequented by a lot of people and we were debating whether or not it should be shifted to a more secluded location. We assumed doing so would increase our chances of photographing a tiger. When we reached the road, I noticed there was a stream nearby and decided to go walk along it to see if there was a better spot for our camera. I returned, only 10 minutes later, and was amazed to see fresh pug marks on the road! Upon closer examination, I realised they belonged to a sloth bear! I wondered how many times I had been in the forest and had one of these magnificent creatures pass silently by me without me noticing it!