The tiger and the sloth bear are two major predators of the Indian jungles. Between them, it’s clear who’s boss. Some people know that tigers hunt and eat bears. Others don’t. And then, there are people who can’t bear to think about either possibility.
The acclaimed wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri has captured an intriguing and amusing interaction between a tiger and a sloth bear in Nagarahole, Karnataka. Looking into a patch of forest from a watchtower, the filmmaker and his companions (one of whom was wildlife biologist and tiger expert Dr. Ullas Karanth) saw a large male tiger pursued by a sloth bear.
Knowing well the equation between the two animals, they expected a bloody confrontation resulting in the end of the bear as we knew it. Instead, what followed was comedy. The tiger lay down, yawned and regarded the bear’s threat displays with apparent amusement. Once finished, the bear went away. And the tiger returned to his nap.
Grand stuff. And lucky are those who witnessed it and caught it on film. The insight: Tigers, we are led to believe, are not interested in their prey when they are not hungry.
That’s a good lesson for little children: Eat at mealtimes and never in between.
Text and pictures here