Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary is situated in the Banaskantha district in the Indian state of Gujarat at the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. It was declared as a sanctuary in May 1978, covering an area of about 180 square kilometres (69 sq mi), principally for protection of the sloth bear, which is now categorized as "Vulnerable A2cd+4cd;C1 ver 3.1" as per IUCN red list. Their numbers is declining in the wild and are threatened with extinction.

The name "sloth" is said to be the epithet travellers and hunters in India gave to the bear when they saw it hanging upside down from branches of trees and consequently they identified it with sloth, an animal that hangs upside down. While it is now known as Sloth Bear, initially it was called 'Bear Sloth' since the game hunters identified this species with the Sloth of South America as the physical characteristics and “arboreal” habits of both species matched. Towards the later part of the 18th Century, its scientific name was Ursine bradypus or Ursiform Sloth or Bradypus ursinus. But when in early 19th Century, the Sloth Bear, housed in a zoo in France, was examined, scientists identified it correctly as a bear species and thereafter the name was changed from 'Bear Sloth' to "Sloth Bear". Jessore hill, which is the back drop to the sanctuary, is also prefixed to form the full name "Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary".

Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India, Forest Department of Gujarat, well known Institutes and Universities of the country, stakeholders and local communities in and around the project area have been engaged in Conservation and Sustainable Management of Dryland Biodiversity of North Gujarat under a GEF/UNDP supported project with the objective of conservation of globally significant biodiversity. The two projects identified under the programme, as demonstration project sites were the Jessore and Balaram-Ambaji Sanctuaries. The information gathered under this project in respect of the Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary has enhanced the information base and is expected to help in building local establishments to adopt novel ideas to resolve the threats faced by the sanctuary.

Read more about Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary:  Geography, Flora and Fauna, Threats, Conservation

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