Sri Lankan sloth bear

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Sri Lankan sloth bear
Flickr - Rainbirder - Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus).jpg
At a small waterhole at sunset in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Melursus
Species: M. ursinus
Subspecies: M. u. inornatus
Trinomial name
Melursus ursinus inornatus
Pucheran, 1855 [1]

The Sri Lankan sloth bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus) is a subspecies of the sloth bear found mainly in lowland dry forests in the island of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan sloth bear is omnivorous. It feeds on nuts, berries, and roots, as well as carrion and meat. One of its main staples is insects, which it removes from rotting stumps and trees with its long, hairless snout. It rarely kills animals. Yala National Park is a famous place to sight these mammals in Sri Lanka.

Local names[edit]

In its native habitat of Sri Lanka, this bear is called the walaha in Sinhalese and karadi in Tamil.[2] Both terms simply translate to "bear" in English. The sloth bear is the only bear species found in Sri Lanka.

Conservation status[edit]

The Sri Lankan sloth bear is highly threatened, with a population less than 1000 (the wild population may be as few as 500) in many isolated populations with population decrease. Destruction of dry-zone natural forest is its main threat, because unlike other large Sri Lankan animals, the Sri Lankan sloth bear is highly dependent on natural forests for its food source.


  1. ^ Revue et Magasin de Zoologie [1855] 7 (3): 392 (J. Pucheran)
  2. ^

1. Revue et Magasin de Zoologie [1855] 7 (3): 392 (J. Pucheran)

Skulls of a Sri Lankan sloth bear (left) and a common sloth bear (right) from the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle

External links[edit]