Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary - Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna


The vegetation in the sanctuary consists of arid to semiarid and dry deciduous thorny scrub.

A UNDP sponsored study of the Flora of the sanctuary has identified 406 species of plants (90 trees, 47 shrubs, 33 climbers, 194 herbs, 31 grasses, six pteridophytes, two bryophytes, one epiphyte, and two fungi). A further analysis indicates that the families of tree species are 13, shrubs 15, herbs 11 and climbers 13. Some of the species reportedly belong to the threatened category as per IUCN; these are: Pavonia arabica, Tecomella undulata, Capparis cartilaginea, Dendrocalamus strictus, Sterculia urens and Silver Date Palm and Ceropegia odorata, an endangered species. Six endemic species to India recorded are ogeissus sericea, chlorophytum borivilianum, Sterculia urens, Tecomella undulata, Silver Date Palm and Dendrocalamus strictus. Further, 89 plants are recorded to have medicinal properties.

However, forest area is reportedly diminishing, and the corridor with hill area forests of Aravalli is also reducing, disrupting the migration of the bears. As a result, forest areas are reported only in patches. Prosopis juliflora called locally as gando baval has become the dominant vegetation affecting spread of local species, growth of goat and cattle population and forest fires; about 40 per cent of the green cover in the lower areas and 20 per cent in hilly regions are covered by this weed.


Apart from sloth bear, other fauna reported in the sanctuary are leopard, sambar, blue bull, wild boar, porcupine, and a variety of birds. Other endangered species harboured by the sanctuary are jungle cat, civet, caracal, wolf and hyena.

The faunal study by UNDP covered the herpetofaunal group. 14 species of amphibians and reptiles have been recorded here; the list includes Indian Python (Python molurus) an endangered species, Indian Flap-shelled Turtle (Lissemys punctata) of vulnerable category and Muggar (Crocodylus palustris) and Varanus (Varanus bengalensis) of endangered category. Threats faced by these species have been noted as water shortage, traffic, and hunting by snake charmers.

Reptiles found also include cobra, krait, several types of viper and monitor lizard.


Studies of avifauna in the sanctuary revealed 105 species, including migratory birds. The list includes: four near threatened category birds comprising Grey jungle fowl (Gallus sonneratii), White-bellied Minivet (Pericrocotus erythropygus), Indian Black Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa) and Painted stork (Mycturia leucocephala); the Vulnerable category (as per IUCN Red List) are White-winged Black Tit (Parus nuchalis), Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans), Indian White-rumped Vulture (Gyps Bengalensis), Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus), Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) and Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera).

Mammalian fauna

20 species of mammalian fauna have been identified. Of these Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) are near threatened and vulnerable respectively.

Sloth bear

Sloth bear is an animal found in many parts of Asia including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Two subspecies have been recognized namely, the Indian Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus ursinus) and the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus).

Sloth bear is omnivorous, black and dark brown in colour with an yellowish patch on the chest, has large feet and claws, as tall as 5–6 feet (1.5–1.8 m), heavy in size (males weigh 175–310 pounds (79–140 kg), females 120–210 pounds (54–95 kg)), runs as fast as humans and has a long muzzle. Their habitats can be dry forest or wet rain forest or grass lands with shrubs trees and stones. They eat insects, their favourite is termites, live on fruits (mangoes and figs), grass and honey. Fifty percent of their diet is fruits during March to June, and termites and other insects the rest of the time. They have high sensory perception. It is the only bear with long hair on the ears. Its life span is estimated as 25 years.

Study has established that the Sloth Bear prefers biodiversity zones in the sanctuary that are rich in fruit trees, such as Ficus glomerata and Diospyros melanoxylon (rich sweet fruits), and the presence of honey, ants, and termites.

Read more about this topic:  Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary

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