From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Sloth Bear
Mains level : NA
The first World Sloth Bear Day was observed yesterday to generate awareness and strengthen conservation efforts around the unique bear species endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
- The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is an important species and endemic to the Indian subcontinent with small populations in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
- Classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, sloth bears are endemic to the Indian sub-continent and 90% of the species population is found in India.
- Listed under Schedule I of the (Wildlife Protection) Act of India, 1972, the species has the same level of protection as tigers, rhinos and elephants.
- Commercial international trade of the sloth bear (including parts and derivatives) is prohibited as it is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
- The sloth bears are omnivorous and survived on termites, ants and fruits.
Why protect sloth bears?
- For a long time, sloth bears were exploited as dancing bears. Though the practice has been banned there are still a few cases of rescue.
- Sloth bears are one of the most aggressive extant due to large human populations often closely surrounding reserves that hold bears.
- Aggressive encounters and attacks are relatively frequent, though in some places, attacks appear to be a reaction to encountering people accidentally.