On Sunday, June 22, 2014 we set out from Karkala, as usual, for a birdwatching and photography trip. We decided to explore Samse village close to Kudremukh town.
The monsoon got delayed this year, but it did rain heavily in the 3rd week of June. We were enjoying a downpour while driving through the dense shola forest of Kudremukh NP. At around 10:35AM we reached the South Canara Border (SK border), on to the left of the road I saw two dogs at a distance of 200 ft. We stopped to check them out, assuming they were jackals. To our surprise, when we looked through binoculars, they turned out to be ‘dholes’ or Indian Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus)!
We backed-up our vehicles to observe them. The dholes were on a kacha road (probably a fire-line) which crosses the National Highway (NH) and goes into the dense forest on the right of of the NH. They looked like they wanted to cross the NH to the other side.
This was my first sighting of dhole from this region. Sightings of dhole from this area are extremely rare and this is probably the first photographic record. I got to know that Rohit Rao and Akhilesh Bhat had a glimpse of a single dhole on 7th April 2012. Tracks and scat records were collected in a recent statewide occupancy study of dholes by Wildlife Conservation Society-India researcher Arjun Srivathsa.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Dholes are rare in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district and this is probably the first photographic record. Regular patrols of our parks by passionate locals always help reveal the natural history of the region in addition to identifying potential conservation threats.