Human-sloth bear conflict is becoming an issue of concern in India, especially in the state of Gujarat. North and Central parts of Gujarat are considered to have the highest population and densities of sloth bears; previous research revealed that sloth bears are wandering outside the protected areas in close proximity to humans. Despite the growing numbers, the status of the sloth bear is still vulnerable due to the degradation of remaining sloth bear habitats and an increase in human-bear conflicts. As human populations increase and encroach into sloth bear habitats, higher incidences of bear attacks emerge. These conflicts can put human life and safety at risk, reduce tolerance towards bears and threaten their numbers, thereby diminishing conservation efforts. This paper aims to understand the nature of human-sloth bear conflicts in Gujarat, in the light of escalating encounters, by examining the major drivers of conflict, and assessing conflict prevention and mitigation strategies that focus on the protection and welfare of local communities as well as the conservation of the sloth bears and their habitat.
Type of Publication