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Wildlife SOS Drones for Bears Project

A project of Wildlife Survival Fund: Investing in endangered species before it’s too late.



Geographic Location

Sanapur Community Reserve Forest located in the north eastern part of the state of Karnataka, near Hampi in the district of Koppal, India

Focal Species

Sloth Bears

IUCN Red List Status of Focal Species

Threatened, Endangered or Critically Endangered

Partnering with Shadowview and the AZA Bear TAG, Wildlife SOS will be utilizing drone technology for the purpose of sloth bear conservation by mapping sloth bear habitat. After years of focusing on it, Wildlife SOS was effective at ending the “dancing bear” problem in India. This was an essential first step for protecting sloth bears. Now that this issue is resolved, more needs to be done to identify and protect sloth bear habitat. Wildlife SOS is already working to protect key land areas for sloth bears in India. This drone project will further assist with providing the critical data that is urgent to gain these protections. There is still surprisingly little known about sloth bear ecology as most research dollars go toward more familiar animals such as tigers, elephants and rhinos. To gain a better understanding of sloth bear ecology within a unique ecosystem, the project will map the Sanapur Community Reserve Forest in the north eastern part of the state of Karnataka. Mapping this habitat will enable Wildlife SOS to gather more knowledge about this vulnerable species and develop effective conservation methods.

Project Mission:  To utilize drone technology to successfully map sloth bear habitat in detail.  Then utilize the data to: 1) track habitat changes in subsequent years, 2) use the detailed maps for the ongoing sloth bear ecology studies, and 3) use the information to help guide future conservation efforts for bears in the area.


Sloth Bears at Woodland Park Zoo

The sloth bears can be found in the Banyan Wilds exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo. The exhibit highlights the impact of human population growth on the habitat of both wild tigers and sloth bears. These bears can be seen climbing monolithic rock formations or lounging in hollowed out caves that represent the landscape of their native India.


To learn more:

Read the sloth bear fact sheet