Melursus ursinus or Ursus ursinus, the sloth bear comes from the oldest linage of true bears , dating back to 6 million years where they diverged in to a separate species, similar to what is the panda bear did and they most likely change because of climate fluctuations long enough for a new species to colonize a region. During the miocene era, it's quite possible the sloth bear first arrived in the Indian subcontinent.
Sloth bears live in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. They live primarily in tropical rainforests and grasslands, when the monsoons arrive in between April and June, they move to higher dryer forest areas . As the monsoon rain comes to an end and the ground dries out, they move back down to the riparian flood plains and grasslands .
Sharing much of their areas with humans, the sloth bear is losing much of its habitat because of deforestation and agriculture. They are protected by the Indian Wildlife Protection Act which prevents hunting. Only in the very most mountainous regions and protected parks do they have a stronghold . In Bhutan they are best protected by the government and the forest habitat which is still intact . Sloth bears habitat overlaps with the asiatic black bear both sharing areas along the Himalayan foothills , along the Brahmaputra River where all three tropical bears coexist together.
A sloth bear feeds on ants, termites which a liking particular, however being a generalist they will eat fruits, insects, honey, vegetation, and occasionally carrion if it is found quickly as carrion decomposes rapidly in the tropics.
Sloth bears have dark black coats and a mixture of brown and gray in many individuals. Having long shaggy hair they have lost the inner coat like what the northern bear have. On the chest they have a white patch in the shape of a U or Y. The front legs are turned inwards and they have large claws to dig up insects and to climb trees. They have large mobile lips and their upper incisor teeth have disappeared except in some individuals where one incisor is present.
Some 10,000 or fewer sloth bears remain in the wild.
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