Tiger, sloth bear engage in life-and-death struggle

A dramatic video of a life-and-death struggle between a sloth bear and a tiger at Maharashtra's Tadoba National Park in India has gone viral, NDTV reported.

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People on an afternoon safari at the park Wednesday saw a female sloth bear and her cub searching for water. The tiger, a 7-year-old male named Matkasur, had marked the territory and was cooling off in a body of water called Jamun Bodi. When the bears came too close to the water, the tiger attacked, NDTV reported.

It was a mismatch, as sloth bears are not known to be territorial. At times during the video it appeared as if the tiger would prevail and kill the bear, but motherly instincts took over. As the cub roared nearby, the female wrestled out of the big cat’s grip and continued to charge, NDTV reported.

The tiger eventually retreated into the water.

“The tiger attacked the bear (for) more than five minutes. It went after the sloth bear but she kept charging in order to protect her cub,” Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge who shot the video, told NDTV. “It went on for 15 minutes. The tiger was roaring. It was a severe fight.”

Both the tiger and sloth bear suffered injuries in the attack, Kumar said. The cub ran away during the fight.

"Sloth bears are easy game," Anish Andheria, President of Wildlife Conservation Trust, told NDTV. "As you can see in the video, the sloth bear was so exhausted. They can't outrun tigers.”

Andheria said the sloth bear’s fur saved her life.

"The only thing that saves the bear is the hair on the body, because (the) tiger doesn't get a grip," Andheria said.

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