Encounters between sloth bears and leopards are rare, often occurring in the evening at and around kill sites.
In 1968, Kurt and Jayasuriya report of a sloth bear eaten by a leopard at Yala National Park, India. The details? The bear victim was either a young adult or sub adult female sloth bear described as three-quarter grown. The encounter occurred by a palu tree but whether the leopard was hunting the bear or if the meeting was a chance encounter is unclear. The authors stated the park staff were have to recorded only one other meeting between these two species in Yala National Park where a leopard was killed by a bear. The seriously injured bear was later destroyed by park officials. No other details of the encounter were provided.
Kurt, F. and Jayasuriya, A. (1968). Notes on a dead bear. Loris, 11: 182-183.
"Came across a leopard and two sloth bears at Maradanmaduwa on the way out after a full day of safari at Wilpattu National Park.
First we saw a fully grown bear feeding in the open areas but we couldn't observe it for long as it went in.
Soon after we saw a leopard in the surrounding - it was walking towards the direction where the bear was. It suddenly stopped and waited for a while staring at something inside the jungle. We think the the leopard saw the bear and didn't want to go that way.
After a while it went in as well - but all of a sudden a bear was walking much close to the road. It's not the one we saw before as this one is much smaller."
¨ New interesting accounts of interactions between leopards and sloth bears at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka (credits to Radheesh Sellamuttu)
With hearts beating and cameras ready we watched as the shaggy black beast broke on to the scene, hot on the trail of the leopard cub, nose to the ground and heading straight for the den site. Just moments earlier the cub was seen nervously peeking out of its den site. It appeared that the mother had left the cub alone this morning to hunt or perhaps she was in search of a new den site. My heart skipped a beat as the sloth bear investigated the opening to the den site. Could the young cub distinguish friend from foe or would its curiosity drive it to come out and take a look at this strange black goliath with curved daggers for claws and a nose that appeared to have a motion of its own. The latter choice would more than likely have not ended well for the cub.
After several nervous moments we breathe a sigh of relief as the bear loses interest. The crevice in the granite rock was too narrow for it to pass through and the cub stayed put. It was just a short while earlier that the cub crawled back into its hole from being exposed on a high vantage point. The cub was to escape unscathed for that day. Perilous turning points in a leopard cub’s life truly cannot be captioned or explained, it surely needs to be lived in all its intricacy and vividness.
The previous evening we watched the mother and the cub interact on the same rock. The mother greeted the young one with several purposeful licks, throwing it off balance with each lick. At one point in the evening there appeared to be a confrontation in the bushes between the mother leopard and a bear, as the bear made uninterrupted vocalisations for several minutes and it is this that made me wonder whether the mother had left the cub alone the next morning to find a new den site. There were other visitors circling the den too, including raptors, a large wild boar, a ruddy mongoose, and a couple of skinks!
When a young male leopard and sloth bear meet | Leopard Trails
"It is said that nature will sometimes reward you on special occasions, and any form of leopard-sloth bear interaction is surely a special reward! This is exactly what happened to guide Avi as he celebrated his recent birthday at Wilpattu national park guiding a group of our guests. He was able to capture this fantastic footage of a near 3 year old male subadult leopard (the 2:3 Maradanmaduwa male leopard born in late 2014) approaching and then interacting with a sloth bear of similar age in the vicinity. Enjoy!"
"A female sloth with her 2 cubs (2-2.5 years old) and a male Indian leopard residing on a small mountain, distance between their caves were hardly 100 meters. Observed them for more than a year in 2016 and early 2017 at Ratanmahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Dahod, Gujarat, India"