Trekkers always throng to spot wild animals deep inside forest and not all get an opportunity to spot one and that to at an attacking range of 5 feet distance. It happened with me when I went on my 3 days trekking mission to Venkateswara reserved forest situated in Andhra Pradesh.
Day 1 of the trek i.e. on 31.12.2010 along with Chennai Trekking Club (CTC). We were climbing down a hill inside thick forest and were heading to a stream which was 50 meters below. Gowri Shankar was leading the team with a help of a GPS and I was closely following him and next to me was Gurva a guy from Bangalore and there was a solid distance between us and the rest of the gang. We went near a hole in the mountain and saw the sand very freshly dug and thought it was dug either by a wild boar or some other wild animal.
Gowri first peeped inside and then I followed him. Gurva looking at us was also eager to peep inside and soon he also peeped inside the big hole of the mountain. Initially, there came a heavy roar from the hole and Gowri said it could be the sound of a wild boar. We got scared to death and did not know what to do at that moment.
Gurva again peeped inside the hole and a full grown ugly sloth bear showed its scary face to us and this time with a much louder roar making the mountains to tremble. All three of us were panic stricken and had no clue what to do. Within seconds the black sloth bear came roaring outside the hole and vanished inside the thick jungles. The rest of the fellow trekkers were watching this whole episode to unfold from the top of the mountain and they were fear stricken for a long time.
This was my first face to face encounter with a wild sloth bear in its own territory, although sloth bears are known for their un-provocative attacks we were lucky enough to escape unharmed.