If you have always wanted to see the cuddly, honey-loving bears, head straight to Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, about 20km from Hampi in Karnataka. They are endemic to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and are a vulnerable species due to rampant habitat loss.
However, spread over 82 square kilometres, Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary has a rough terrain that suits them just right, and also other wildlife such as jackal, wild boar, mongoose, black-naped hare, and leopard. Carry binoculars to spot the lanky sloth bears; though they’re abundant in the scrub-covered topography of the sanctuary, they can actually only be seen from afar.
A good number of sloth bears are mostly hidden in the caves of the surrounding green-covered hillocks. Therefore, there is a watch tower from where you get a good view of these endearing bears strutting about the forest.
These sloth bears especially come out during early evening, to satiate their sugar cravings. Interestingly, honey is smeared on the branches and ber fruits and mahuva are strewn on the rocks to get them to hang around in the open for longer. You will be stunned to see that though they look clumsy, they actually are pretty swift climbers.
The sloth bear are different in appearance as compared to brown and black bears; they have a long and dark furry covering of hair around them and their forelimbs are longer than their hind ones. Since they have small eyes and ears, their vision and hearing are weak, but they have an impeccable sense of smell.
The easiest way to reach the sanctuary from Bangalore is by road. The nearest railway station from Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is in Hospet, around 22km away. And the nearest airport from here is in Hubli, about 143km away from Hampi or even the Belgaum Airport, around 720km away.