Bengaluru: In a first of its kind meeting to conserve the unique and endangered species of sloth bears in India, Wildlife SOS hosted the first international sloth bear expert team meeting at the Sloth Bear Conservation and Rescue Centre in Bengaluru, Karnataka, an official said on Friday.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Sloth Bear Expert Team meeting brought together sloth bear conservationists, scientists and field researchers from across the world who are working on sloth bear conservation and protection, the Wildlife SOS official said.
Sloth bear (melursus ursinus) is one of the four unique species of Ursids which are found in the Indian subcontinent. The sloth bear population in the wild is severely threatened due to habitat loss, poaching and retaliatory killing resulting in human bear conflict.
The two-day conference — hosted by Wildlife SOS in partnership with the IUCN Sloth Bear Expert Team — was an initiative by IUCN and the Bear Specialist Group established by Species Survival Commission (SSC) to achieve scientific conservation solutions to preserve the sloth bear population in its range.
The Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre run by Wildlife SOS in collaboration with the Karnataka Forest Department has rescued and rehabilitated over a hundred sloth bears rescued from poachers, human-bear conflicts and also from the “Dancing Bear” trade. Wildlife SOS has successfully released several rescued bears back in the wild.
Those attending the meet included Dr. Barbara Durrant from Institute of Conservation Research in California, USA, and former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Force) Karnataka Forest Department, B.K. Singh who interacted with the delegates.
The co-chairs of the IUCN Sloth Bear Expert Team released a compendium of 20 years of Bear Research Publications by Wildlife SOS.