The Sri Lanka Business and Biodiversity (SL B&B) Platform of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, CIC Holdings PLC and Biodiversity Education and Research (BEAR) signed an agreement to continue scientific research on the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear in the Wilpattu National Park, under the supervision of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the guidance and technical expertise of Prof. Devaka Weerakoon from the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
Phase I explored the entire national park and then specifically zoomed in on the Maradanmaduwa area of approximately 10 sq.km where around 26 bears, were identified as separate individuals by the animals’ tracks and camera-trap footage. Out of this number, 11 individuals were clearly identified as males, six as females, and the gender-unidentified group included five cubs.
The study also revealed some interesting facts with regard to the sloth bear’s preferred habitats and diet, challenging previous beliefs about this endangered species. Phase II of the project comes about as a result of the successful completion of Phase I, and has been designed to focus on the habitat and behaviour, taking a closer look at its individual preferences with regard to niche and preferred habitats.