RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK, INDIA: A sloth bear came across a couple of Bengal cat tigers mating. The male tiger and female tigress clashed with the bear. The photographs by wildlife photographer Aditya Dicky Singh of the encounter are amazing. Aditya believed the bear would be killed.
Female sloth bears grow to about 5ft 6in tall and weight around 210 pounds while males weight about 300 pounds (21 stones) and are a little taller.
But Bengal tigers can weigh around 500 pounds for males and 310 pounds for females.
It is remarkable then that the bear defeated the tigers without a fight in defending her young.
However, I think this is the important issue. This was a chance encounter between two different species. There was no need to fight. There was nothing to fight over. The mother bear was aggressive because instinctively she was protecting her young but I don’t think the tigers were interested in attacking the bear cubs.
The tigers were there to mate. They were not stalking prey. Without any motivation to attack potential prey there was no appetite for fight in which they could have been seriously harmed. So they quickly backed off.
The impressive aspect of the bear’s behaviour and the behaviour of her cubs is that they clung onto her throughout the encounter. That was the safest place to be but still highly dangerous if the tigers had been in a mood for a genuine fight.
The sloth bear is a dangerous fighter. Apparently they are the world’s deadliest bears in respect of people (National Geographic).
The whole encounter took 2 minutes. The bear took control in ten seconds according to The Sun report.