Project Background

The Sri Lanka Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus) is a subspecies which is endemic to the island nation. The sloth bear is one of the most adversely affected animals due to deforestation and urbanisation. As this species is very sensitive to disturbances. Currently, they are restricted to theNational parks and sanctuaries in the lowlands of the island.Due to prevalent misconceptions among the jungle villagers, the sloth bear has earned the reputation as one of the most dangerous animals in Sri Lanka.

Sloth bears were reported as abundant during the colonial period but declined speedily and drastically due to habitat loss and hunting.In Sri Lanka, population estimates and abundance is greatly lacking. In order to fill this gap in knowledge and to gather baseline data on their population density and home range, the current project was initiated, first in Wilpattu National Park, as it is supposed to harbour one of the largest populations of sloth bear, as per the study done in the 1970’s by Eisenberg and Lockhart.

This forms the first stage in an island-wide study on the Sloth Bear in Sri Lanka.The project goal is to map, evaluate the population density and composition of sloth bears in Wilpattu

National Park and to identify their habitat needs and preferences. The information gained from this study can then be applied island wide in the subsequent conservation strategies and efforts for the sloth bear. The project is being funded by CIC Holdings PLC.

Project Activities

Project Activities

  • Evaluating the population densities in Wilpattu National Park, in different types ofhabitats.
  • Identify their specific habitat needs preferences and home range.
  • Collecting scat sample to analyze their seasonal diet and if possible to carry out DNA studies

Project initiated in: 2013

Status: Ongoing