I heard many make up stories and real stories about Sloth Bears. But they are all from the story books and from other people. After spending night at Thalgasmankada Camp site in Yala National Park on 1st of October 2011, I have a story of my own to tell.
We set off for the morning Safari at about 5.30 a.m. So as a habit i wake up at about 4.30. But I had a bad night with some stupid dreams and I woke about 4.00 a.m. I was alone in my tent and I heard a noise outside form the staff tent nearby. I thought it must be one of our crew member. (most probably our cook going to make tea). But I felt something strange in the noise too. So i unzip about an inch of the tent entrance, and peered out with flash light on my hand. I saw shadow figure of someone who cannot identified properly. So i turned on my flash light.
At that instant I was heading face to face with a giant Sloth Bear! I was stunned on the spot. Next thing i saw is it is coming slowly towards me and i was scared to death!
The next thing i know is that i was sitting breathlessly in the very middle of the tent. I managed to turn off the flash light but forgot to close the tent entrance. I heard the Big one sniffing the tent. I tried my best not to make any sound. The nails of an Adult Sloth bear is strong enough to break Termite mounds even in dry season which are almost strong as Concrete. So tearing my poor tent is nothing other than a piece of cake for him.
Then it began slowly going around the tent sniffing and exploring. I can hear the breathing of the beast. There was a lantern kept next to the tent about five feet away from one side of the tent. The Sloth bear went through the lantern and tent wall making a huge magnified shadow of it self on the tent cloth making me more fear. After inspecting my tent i heard it going to the jungle again. Then i remember i have to breath in order to live.
Finally an image of the location few minutes later after the Sloth Bear encounter. You can see the lantern in the right side still glowing. It will help to get and idea about how close i was being to the Sloth Bear.
The end. !