Trekker was very close, at least if he meant Sun Bear... ;) Somehow I think he meant Serow though, or not?
It is an Asiatic Black Bear. There were two of them, and big ones.
It was at the same location where I found the Gaur skull in January. The skull and bones were still there.
That time I had seen lots of bear tracks on the nearby trees. And my guess was that the bears had found the carcass and had a good feed.
Seeing these two large bears, I started to wonder if the two of them together would be able to kill an adult Gaur bull.
I'm not convinced, but would not be very surprised either.
These thoughts were going through my head when I was standing 10m from the tree they were both in. A little too close for comfort, and with the skull a few meters behind me, it soon made me decide to get away from there, haha.
The Asiatic Black Bear is the animal I fear the most in the Thai jungles. More than elephants. I know elephants can be dangerous and are able to kill you, but I think confrontation is easier to avoid than with a bear which runs faster and climbs and they appear totally fearless.
It made it hard for me to hold the camera still. Just recently I bought a cheap second hand D5100, so finally I have a DSLR that does video. It took a while in all the excitement before I thought of this function. It was my first trip to the park with this camera. Sadly the bears had already stopped their weird noises when I started filming.
Before recording the sound, and before I had seen them, I heard them breathing. In the very first beginning I thought it was the wingbeat of one of the larger hornbill species. Untill a more grunt-like sigh sounded.
For a second I hoped for a Clouded Leopard (in my dreams ;) ), but the weird hoots that followed did not sound very cat-like. I could hear there were two animals communicating and when I found a 'clear' view through the leaves, I saw the large black guy hanging on a branch. I cautiously walked in a circle around the tree, and spotted the second one, but that one was even harder to photograph. So I walked back to my first position and got this image and video. Before I decided to get away from there.
Another amazing encounter. And so far this year had been very quiet with bear sightings, did see a Sun Bear run off in July, but that was the only sighting so far this year. Last year was crazy, so I'm spoiled... haha
It was new for me too, Marc.
I had only heard the vocals of a bear once before, but that was more a roar-like sound to scare me off; which worked ;) !
This sounds much more friendly. Almost inviting; "Come and join us in the tree!"
With their large round teddy-bear-ears, and thick furry coat, you almost would like to cuddle up to them.
But at the same time I was feeling far from comfortable. It's too bad, but I just didn't think it was safe to wait for them to come down or move to a good location for a picture. So far only once I've had a good picture opportunity of a bear. But well, who knows what the future will bring.