Vadodara: They are both shy creatures and rarely spotted in the open during the daytime. And, sighting them together in their habitat is almost impossible.

But a wildlife enthusiast from Ahmedabad captured a rare moment on his lenses in the dense forests of Dahod. Vickey Chauhan managed to click a female sloth bear and male leopard in a single frame during his visit to the Ratanmahal Sanctuary in July last year.

In fact, the sloth bear and leopard had been staying in very close vicinity. “We had learnt about presence of a sloth bear and leopard in the forest in February last year. My friend Ketansinh Chauhan and I began trailing them and inquired with the locals. But they couldn’t provide much details. I started visiting the sanctuary frequently hoping to find them together,” Chauhan told TOI.

“By April, I got a fair idea about their location following which we went there with Pravinsinh Vihol, deputy conservator of forest, Devgadh Baria. What we saw was very rare and amazing. The sloth bear and leopard were staying in rock caves within a distance of 100 m only,” Chauhan told TOI.

“Forget staying so nearby, a sloth bear and leopard don’t even come that close to each other,” he added.

“Interestingly, the sloth bear had two cubs and a leopard can easily kill the cubs. Even the bear can kill leopard but they both didn’t seem to mind each other’s presence. We had to wait for some days to click both in the same frame as the leopard and sloth bear came out of their caves at different time. We didn’t make the photos public earlier as we didn’t want to share the location for the safety of these wild animals,” Chauhan, who has done several studies on sloth bears, said.


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