A tiger cooling off in a watering hole at Tadoba National Park in India went on the attack when a sloth bear and its cub came into view as they searched for water.
Akshay Kumar of the Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge was leading a safari when he and the tourists encountered the battle that is rarely seen. Fortunately, Kumar captured it in video:
“The tiger attacked the bear more than five minutes,” Kumar told NDTV. “It went after the sloth bear, but she kept charging in order to protect her cub. It went on for 15 minutes. The tiger was roaring. It was a severe fight.”
The cub, after a few roars of its own, ran off during the battle in which tiger and sloth bear each suffered injuries but eventually parted ways with lives intact. But it could have been far worse for the sloth bear.
“Sloth bears are easy game,” Dr. Anish Anderia, president of the Wildlife Conservation Trust, told NDTV. “As you can see in the video, the sloth bear was so exhausted. They can’t outrun tigers.”
So how did it survive the attack by the apex predator? Its fur coat.
“The only thing that saves the bear is the hair on the body, because the tiger doesn’t get a grip,” Andheria told NDTV.
The tiger was identified as Matkasur, a 7-year-old dominant male in the park. It had marked the body of water known as Jamun Bodi as its territory. It didn’t stop the sloth bears, though we’re not certain if they ever got a drink.
But we do know Matkasur got everything it could handle.
“They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” the Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge wrote on Facebook. “But if the woman is a mother bear, even male tigers stand no chance.”