There is very little published information on denning ecology of sloth bears (Melursus ursinus). We identified 109 day dens in Pendra and Marwahi ranges of North Bilaspur Forest Division. Except for 3 dens, all sloth bear day dens were found in hillocks made of boulders. Annual mean temperature outside and inside the dens in daytime was 39.0°C (n = 104, SD = 4.1) and 28.4°C (n = 104, SD = 3.9), respectively. Ninety-five of the 109 day dens were characterized by the presence of gusti (Ficus virens), pakri (Ficus tinctoria), and tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon) trees. On average, vegetation cover in a 10-m radius circle around day den centers was 14.8% (n = 109, SD = 8.3). To provide protection to sloth bear habitat, we recommend that the Forest Department should stop stone extraction and regulate grazing and removal of firewood and timber from hillocks that have day dens.
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Vol. 18 • No. 2