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  • Context (DTE): Conflict between humans and sloth bears in Karnataka was in the news.
  • Sloth Bear are also called Honey Bear.
  • They live in dry and moist forests and in some tall grasslands.
  • Distribution: Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan and Nepal, predominantly in lowland areas.
  • Food Habits: Eat termites and ants, fond of honey.
  • Sloth bears do not hibernate.
  • Tribes associated: Kalandars-Karnataka. Use bears for street performance to earn their living.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN Red List: Vulnerable | CITES: Appendix I | WPA, 1972: Schedule I
  • Threats: Habitat loss, poaching for body parts, captured for use in performances and hunted because of their aggressive behavior and destruction of crops.
  • India has four sloth bear sanctuaries that are home to over 620 of these animals.
  • The Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Karnataka, Ballari district, is Asia’s first sloth bear sanctuary.

Sloth bear

What is Mahua?

  • It is a medium-sized tree that grows up to 16-20 m, with a grey trunk.
  • It is native to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar.
  • In India, it is known by names differing by region such as mahwa, llupai, honey tree, butter tree.
  • Its flowers are green or pink.
  • Mahua’s superficial root system binds the soil and limits erosion.
  • It is also used in soil reclamation on lateritic soils.
  • Its mention can be found in Sanskrit texts dating as early as the 2nd Century BC.
  • Seed oil: used to make soaps, candles, fertiliser.
  • Famine in Bengal (1770): Mahua is said to have saved thousands of people from starvation.
  • Nutritional value: it is a good source of Vitamin C and A.
  • Oil crop: can be used in biodiesel production.
  • Indigenous tribes & Mahua
    • Sacred tree
    • Provides indigenous communities with the ‘3Fs’ — Feed, Fodder and Fuel.
    • one of the major Non-Timber Forest Products collected from the forest.
    • It has alcoholic properties. Mahua flowers are distilled to produce alcohol.
    • Its smell attracts elephants and sloth bears. (Cause of human animal conflict)

Mahua

 

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