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Balancing the needs of humans and wildlife in Sri Lanka presents enormous socioeconomic and conservation challenges. Sloth bears are legally protected, but attacks on humans generate intense fear, which increases the potential for human-caused bear mortality and local extirpation of bears. In this chapter, what is known about the ecology and human dimensions of the sloth bear in a country with a teeming human population and a history of poverty and civil conflict is explored. We also address whether changes in land use in the aftermath of the civil war may have impacted sloth bear distribution and discuss the conservation outlook for bears.
This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.
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