Lifescapes Gallery

22 / Sep / 2010
The Kabini Philharmonic
Sloth Bear, Kabini Photograph: Giri Cavale Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Kabini Philharmonic

Imagine a full scale orchestra playing in the middle of the jungle. Imagine discovering that the composer also happens to be all the musicians and instruments rolled into one. Such aural virtuosity is the sole preserve of one of Kabini’s most recognizable citizens: the Sloth Bear. If you choose to read between the notes, you’ll be able to understand his emotional state, just by tuning in to his frequency. Barks, screams, grunts, roars, snarls, woofs and yelps are common renditions to express anger and discomfort. When hurt or fearful, he yowls or whimpers. And if you hear loud huffing and sucking sounds from even 100 meters away, it means that he is relishing his favourite snack of termites, sucking them through the gaps between his teeth. For Sloth Bears, music is the food of love, and, while mating, they let the whole world know, by belting out a melodious tune at the top of their voice. For someone with such a vast musical range, this bear is rather hard of hearing and reminds us of similarly afflicted uncles and aunts who didn’t allow tone deafness to get in the way of subjecting us to their singing prowess. To continue this similarity, the Sloth Bear even walks around with a slow shuffling gait. But don’t be fooled by this apparently slothful behavior. When aroused, he can run faster than most humans, and will charge anything without fear. They have been known, on occasion, to even charge at a disrespectful tiger. Not a very wise course of action, as most such encounters result in the tiger walking away alone, bringing the concert to a close with a resounding burp. Perhaps a case of one man’s symphony being another’s cacophony, and the tiger just couldn’t bear the music anymore!

Some people rhymed. Some reasoned. Some took recourse to a pun. Some just had fun. It was a tough battle, and there were several contenders. The jury is now out. And it’s time to announce the winner of the Lifescapes Anniversary Contest.And the Winner is… more

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 11:00 am and is filed under Mammals . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. kalpesh dhebar says:

    I LIKE IT+++++

  2. kalyani Davidar says:

    Took me back in time to the day when I saw the Sloth Bear for the first time in its natural habitat. An afternoon in May when we sat on the verandah of Chital Walk at Mavanahalla and suddenly saw the bear emerge from a heavy green tangle and head for a jungle stream that meandered through bamboo-brake and open ground not too far from where we sat. Having slaked his thirst he shuffled off in a most business-like manner leaving us bemused and with the thrill of having seen a Sloth-bear at pretty close quarters! Almost four decades ago but still so vivid in memory.

  3. Ajit K Huilgol says:

    Lovely shot, Giri, especially seeing that this shot is from Kabini, where it is very difficult to get a clear shot like this!

  4. Dr. Satish Sharma says:

    Lovely story of a bear we’ve grown up seeing, being goaded to dance on the streets.
    Nice to know Bhola the bear can also play music..ha ha!
    Nice capture and a compelling story. When will you feature the famous wild dogs that roam there in gangs? That’ll be a good story.

  5. Sarath Champati says:

    The Philharmonic orchestra is really at its best when two Sloth Bears get into a scuffle! The range of sounds which emanate from such a contest is simply incredible! I had the privilege of witnessing such an encounter in Kabini, many years ago!

  6. NARAYANA says:

    Wow it mentments for the name and hospitalzation in its own beauty to its customers.

    Keep going in ventures

  7. Jagadish.Bopaiah.Machimanda says:

    Very nice picture, keep it up.

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