The earlier posts here and here. Have a look!
We were witness to an afternoon siesta of the sloth bears, up close and personal and so many individuals together, a sight I have never witnessed till date and probably only get to see in Daroji.
The sanctuary is a small place and infested with problems and pressured on by encroaching land and mining mafia, deforestation and utilization of forest resources by the adjoining villages and as expected it happens that the bears wander out in search of food and there arises the man-animal conflict and in most cases the bears are heavily traumatized and many a times killed. Bears are dangerous enough to face head on especially when they have kids along with them or are in the process of mating, else generally they avoid the humans by scampering away.
The department with the inputs of few individuals working towards conservation have hit upon a novel idea of confining the bears to the sanctuary limits in one way and also fighting the mafia simultaneously and also educating the villagers in the surrounding villages. Remember, they are not captive to be confined in a specific area but are still well and truly wild.
So, in an attempt the high rise rocks in a centrally located area are 'painted' with a mix of 'jaggery' and 'honey' everyday during the afternoons and just like the bees are attracted towards honey, the bears descend down one after the other to have their fill. It's a risky exercise to hear just in case a bear turns up early and the probability of the guard doing the painting job is high, but yet the risk is taken every day just to ensure the bears stay there. Not only bears, peafowls, spurfowls, quails, mongoose visit the rocks and have their share.
At one instance, we saw about 7-8 individuals enjoying their evening siesta, wish that their numbers increase. But, yet the number of bears thronging the rock area have gone down in recent times, reason could be bears being poached, hunted, captured or sadly killed. Personally for me, a long wish of seeing a Sloth Bear up close was fulfilled and that too so many of them together and sure it was fun.
Recently, In an effort to raise awareness and stress the importance of the Daroji Sloth Bear sanctuary, the book 'Daroji - An Ecological Destination' authored by VMR, Samad Kottur, Ganesh H Shankar and helped by numerous others was bought out and needless to say is an exemplary work highlighting the importance of Daroji. I got a chance to see it personally and is an fine work that should be seen by a larger audience.
Some links of it here -
Book on flipkart here
making of the book here by Ganesh H Shankar
Daroji visuals here by Ganesh H Shankar
next up - Heritage Hampi.