The honour for the Image of the Month for July 2015 goes to Sucheth Lingachar's image "Sloth Bear Climbing for Honey"
I like this image because very rarely we see this scene. And also because the sloth bear comes down pretty quickly from a tree, so fast reflexes are needed.
To understand why fast reflexes are needed, one either need to have faced this situation and/or read Dunbar Brander's observations in his book "Wild Animals in Central India" from the perspective of a hunter getting a shot at the sloth bear. He writes "When the bear is treed in this way or even found up a tree in the day-time, the sportsman may imagine he has an easy task in hand, but this is not so, and the bear should be approached with the utmost caution. on realizing his danger, he slips behind the main trunk, and rapidly descending without exposing his person beyond one hurried glance round the edge of the stem, he will drop the last 15 feet and make off at a gallop, keeping the trunk of the tree between himself and his enemy."
As part of our process of awarding Image of the Month, raw images are checked.
Following is the details about the incident shared by Sucheth:
"Photographed at Kabini, This was my first Sloth bear sighting and i never thought sloth bear can climb that much tall and big tree for Honey.
Actually we were searching for Leopard in that area and found foot mark of sloth bear on the road, we followed the foot mark for 200 meters, all of a sudden our guide shouted bear.. bear.. then after hearing our vehicle sound it came down so fast and disappeared in the bush.
Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED + AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II/14E
F/7.1, 1/320s, ISO 1000"