It was one of my best wildlife sightings in last so many years. Last Wednesday afternoon at Bandhavgarh, when the core zones of the park were closed, we didn’t want to waste our 2nd half and hence headed for a buffer safari. There were just 4 gypsys and we positioned ourselves on the JungleRoads between a hilltop and a waterhole. After a long wait, we saw some movement on the hilltop and simultaneously our guide Pandey ji directed us to some movement in the same direction. He could make out that it was a Sloth Bear who would come down to drink water in the waterhole on the other side of the road. We waited for it to come down and even moved our gypsy to make way for it on the road. After observing us for over 15mins, the Black Lady came out, crossed the road and to our surprise returned back and sat at the middle of the road.
Once she was sure that it was safe there, we could hear a soft growl
and WOW, here comes down two cute little bear cubs, running down the hilltop.
They came down, jumping and playing walked up to the water hole, drank water (while the mother kept guard) and moved ahead dancing and playing.
What was amazing to see was that the mother observed us for over 15mins from the hilltop, tested us by putting her life at risk and then further testing us by first crossing the road and then returning and calling her cubs. What was not visible/audible was her instruction to the cubs not to move an inch till she calls them after being sure of their safety. “Display of motherhood at its best in the wilderness of nature”