Sloth Bear. I just love bears. They unfortunately suffer the worst of human cruelty in much of Asia (see below).
But bears seem so sweet and majestic and they're fun to watch in the wild.
Everyone's heart skips a beat and you can't help but grab your camera if you see a bear.
There are 8 species of bears worldwide:
Brown (or Grizzly) bear, American Black bear, Giant Panda, Sloth bear, Sun Bear, Asiatic Black bear, Spectacled bear and Polar bear.
Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka
Chitwan National Park, Nepal - 2002
Sloth bear have suffered the very worst imaginable tortures from humans. Among the nightmares was the practice of "dancing bears".
These amazing animals were poached across their entire range then tortured and mutilated for a small profit.
Once trapped, they were put into a tiny "cage" where they could not turn around or move. Males are often castrated (without sedatives) to make them more docile.
Their teeth are pulled out one-by-one with plyers also with no sedatives. Image what that must feel like.
Their claws are all filed down then a hot piece of sharp metal in stabbed through their incredibly sensitive noses.
The pads of their very sensitive paws are repeatedly burned while a loud pot is banged in their ears.
They are beaten into submission with a stick then finally a rope is put through the hole in their nose and they are dragged to the roadside.
When tourists show up, the pot is banged and the bear reacts in fear of more burning by "dancing" for donations to the sweethearts who "own" them.
Look, I don't ask anything from people viewing my site. These pictures are yours to enjoy, download or whatever you want.
But if you appreciate wildlife at all, consider donating to help stop a really horrific practice. Here's a great organization that has done huge amounts to stop this:
Below you can see how mutilated and infected this bear's nose and mouth were. Many didn't survive this process.
You can also see the stick in the lower left that these fine gentleman were beating this bear with when I was there.
Roadside just outside Delhi, India - 2006