In Search of a Sloth Bear – Last Chance to Spot a Bear


“මේ… හෙට උදේ පාන්දර පිටත් වෙන්න ඔනි කැලේට. 4ට නැගිටිමු කට්ටියම!”

I can’t remember who said that. But waking up at 4 in the morning was nothing for someone used to waking up at 3 am. Eager to catch a glimpse of a sloth bear, I set the alarm for 4 am, woke up at 4 am, and woke everyone else at 4 am. Needless to say, everyone woke up and went right back to sleep. Eventually, everyone was up at 5 am and we managed to leave by 5.50 am.

Unfortunately, there were no leopard sightings that morning. We wandered around with no sense of where to find the next animal. We had asked another jeep to bring us breakfast, which we received while roaming along the main road. Since we could not find any animal to watch over, our driver took out his frustrations just like he did the previous day. Yes! We went splashing into every waterway we could find.

After we made it back to solid ground, we came across a rather large herd of elephants, right in the middle of the road. We quickly got the call across, and within seconds, we had a couple of jeeps for company. Just then, a curious little baby elephant decided to come close and inspect us. We stopped our engines and waited for the elephant to pass by, but another jeep decided to play with him. Racing the engine twice, that jeep managed to scare the baby elephant who went running back to the jungle, much to the annoyance of everyone in every other jeep.

After a few more minutes of aimless wandering, we decided to head back to the campsite to have breakfast and pack everything up. After a wonderful breakfast of string-hoppers, we cleaned up, making sure that we left nothing behind. Our hopes of spotting a sloth bear were slowly fading away. We hit the road again, for one last time.

Yes! We were utterly disappointed. No sightings whatsoever. No leopards for Ansala, and definitely no sloth bears for me. The only thing of interest we found was an owl sleeping on a tree. Ansala worked his camera away on that owl, trying to capture it from every beautiful angle he could manage. However, after a day and a half in the jungle, we left at noon, disappointed at the lack of leopards, and unable to find a sloth bear.

Photo Credits:

This is part 4 of a series of blogs about our search for a Sloth Bear at Yala. Read part 5 here, or start at the beginning by reading part 1 here

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