Both at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
|Sloth bear range|
(black – former, green – extant)
The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is a myrmecophagous bear species native to the Indian subcontinent. It feeds on fruits, ants and termites. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, mainly because of habitat loss and degradation.
It has also been called "labiated bear" because of its long lower lip and palate used for sucking up insects. It has a long, shaggy fur, a mane around the face, and long, sickle-shaped claws. It is lankier than brown and Asian black bears. It shares features of insectivorous mammals and evolved during the Pleistocene from the ancestral brown bear through divergent evolution.
Sloth bears breed during spring and early summer and give birth near the beginning of winter. When their territories are encroached upon by humans, they sometimes attack them. Historically, humans have drastically reduced these bears' habitat and diminished their population by hunting them for food and products such as their bacula and claws. Sloth bears have been tamed and used as performing animals and as pets.