The first World Sloth Bear Day was observed on October 12.
- It aims to spread awareness about protection and conservation of sloth bears.
- A proposal for observing the World Sloth Bear Day was mooted by Wildlife SOS India, an organisation involved in sloth bear conservation and protection for over two decades and the IUCN-Species Survival Commission sloth bear expert team accepted the proposal and declared the day to be celebrated worldwide.
About the Sloth bears ( Melursus ursinus) –
- Sloth bears are endemic to the Indian sub-continent with small populations in Nepal and Srilanka and 90% of the species population is found in India.
- They are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.
- They are identified by their very distinct long, shaggy dark brown or black fur, distinct white V-shaped chest patch and four-inch long ivory-coloured curved claws used for digging out termites and ants from rock-hard mounds. 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.
- They are found in all parts of the country except Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern States.