December 26, 2013
Especially the shaggy-coated, termite-loving sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), who seem particularly fascinated by the cameras that scientists have put up in forests to secretly capture their stealthy moves.
On November 26 at 7:30 PM, one curious sloth bear decided to take a closer look at such a camera that researcher Sanjay Gubbi and his team from the Nature Conservation Foundation installed in a eucalyptus plantation in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The bear jostled with the camera for a while, and tore open the belt that held it to a tree stump before flinging it to the ground. However, another camera installed on an opposite tree sneakily clicked away, capturing the inquisitive bear.
A bear caught on camera trap. Photo courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
The camera captures the sloth bear before it starts to pull it down. Photo courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
The sloth bear investigating the camera. Photo courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
Later that night, the same camera also recorded a gaur (Bos gaurus), a wild pig (Sus scrofa) with its many piglets, and the ever-elusive leopard (Panthera pardus), all seemingly unperturbed by the preceding event.
The opposite camera captures a gaur, as the battered camera lies on the ground. Photo courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
The opposite camera captures a wild pig with its many piglets. Photo courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
The opposite camera captures a leopard. Photo courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
In a separate incident, about five miles away, another sloth bear took a fancy to another camera. Only this time, it decided to get a little creative and flipped the camera over. Over the next 30 hours, the camera took nearly two thousand photographs – capturing not wildlife but hundreds of tiny leaves, the rustling of which continually triggered its motion sensor.
The bears perhaps need more than just a peep to satisfy their curiosity.
A sloth bear investigating and flipping a camera. Sanjay Gubbi/NCF/Panthera.
Special note: The author works with researcher Sanjay Gubbi and his team.
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