Conservation Status of Dholes (Asiatic Wild Dogs) in Northeast India

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Dholes or Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpinis) are among the least-studied large carnivores in the world. The IUCN Red List assessment (2015) categorizes the dhole as an Endangered species. With fewer than 2,500 mature individuals remaining in the wild – across 11 countries in South and Southeast Asia – the dhole may be facing a crisis far more severe than the tiger or elephant. India has the highest dhole population in the world, in three key landscapes: the Western Ghats, … Read More

Tiger Stalks and Hunts Down Wild Dog in Nagarahole

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We witnessed an astonishing natural history moment while on a ride inside Nagarahole Tiger Reserve on the 20th of September, 2017. 

Just as the rain stopped in the morning in the Kabini area of the park, our safari jeep came upon a tiger facing off with a large pack of dholes. The crouching tiger seemed ready to pounce, when a bike-borne forest department staffer came riding between them, inadvertently chasing both away. The tiger disappeared into a bush, so we … Read More

Conserving the Dhole in Karnataka’s Western Ghats

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The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is pack-living apex predator found in south and southeast Asia, currently threatened with endangerment. Dholes are generally restricted to protected forest habitats, but also occur in reserve forests and production agroforests (like tea and coffee plantations). The recent IUCN Red List assessment suggests that there may be 1000–2000 adult, mature dholes left in the wild. Despite its precarious status, the dhole remains one of the least studied large carnivores in the world. … Read More

Dholes in the Western Ghats

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Large carnivores across the world face several threats even as they continue to decline in numbers. Understanding where these species occur, how they use their habitats and what factors influence these patterns are important for their conservation. The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a unique endangered predator. It is the only social, wild canid that almost exclusively inhabits forest areas in Asia. Historically treated as ‘vermin’, dholes were bounty-hunted across the India until they were protected under … Read More

Q: My question is on the Indian wild dog: is there any research going on regarding behaviour study and selection of prey base?

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Answer from Arjun Srivathsa, Research Associate, Wildlife Conservation Society-India:

It is not very easy to carry out behavioural studies of elusive carnivores (like the dhole) because of several logistical difficulties. A rigorous scientific study of wild dog behaviour is only possible through radio-collaring of individuals (radio telemetry). But their wide-ranging habits, erratic disease/population cycles and the fact that they are pack-living, make telemetry difficult. This has been tried once in India before — in the Central Indian landscape — … Read More

Dhole Pups on a Tree, Nagarahole

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During a morning drive around Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, in March 2013, we encountered a pack of 5-6 dholes (Cuon alpinus) close to the forest office. There were a few pups playing around, even climbing a tree. Being highly social, playing is helpful in cementing bonds between pack members, besides being fun! (Adult dholes too will sometimes climb onto sloping tree trunks or termite mounds – Ed). Pack sizes may sometimes swell to over 20, but will usually then split … Read More

Wild dogs attacking Gaur calf, Bandipur

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We came across a pack of 18 dholes or Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus) at Bandipur National Park. The pack was getting ready to attack an elephant herd with two calves. After a few attempts, the dholes moved on. A few minutes later, we heard the call of a gaur and moved forward. In an open area, we saw the dholes attacking a gaur calf while the mother tried to protect it.

As the cries of the calf and the … Read More

Dholes near Karkala, Kudremukh

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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 … Read More

Elephants and Dhole, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!

As this road … Read More

What do Carnivores Eat?

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As umbrella species, the tiger and its co-predators, the leopard and dhole play a fundamental role in shaping prey communities in the forest. Understanding the food habits and dietary seperation of these three large carnivores is vital for conservation of prey species and overall ecosystem functioning.

Authors Anish P. Andheria, K. Ullas Karanth and N. Samba Kumar conducted a study of diets of three sympatric large carnivores, the tiger (Panthera tigris), the leopard (Panthera pardus) and … Read More

Dholes in Tea Estate near Chembra peak, Kerala

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Chembra is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists. A heart-shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction.

Last month (September 2013), my friends and I were trekking to Chembra peak. We had … Read More

Dhole and Indian Wolf, Debrigarh, Odisha

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Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary in Western Odisha must currently be one of the very few PAs in the country where dholes and wolves co-exist! Interestingly, sporadic reports in March 2013 by frontline staff seem to indicate that the lone male wolf, which made its appearance about a month back, has been hanging around near the pack of dholes. In fact, the RFO could see them interacting in close proximity for extended periods of time — feigning charges, scent marking, etc.

The … Read More

Sambar Battle Wild Dogs in Bandipur

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In September 2012, on an evening safari in Bandipur National Park, I witnessed a truly amazing natural history moment, perhaps the finest in all of my wild travels across India. We had planned to check the Kavare Katte, a large water body, before exiting the park. From a distance, we could see that a few sambar standing in the water. As we approached closer, we realized the enormously tense situation that had been playing out. The sambar had entered the … Read More

Wild Dog (Dhole) With a Plastic Bottle, Nagarahole

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Photographer Mahesh Bhat shot this wild dog chewing on a plastic bottle near the Sunkadakatte elephant camp in Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka.

Irresponsibly discarding garbage is one of the downsides of tourism in protected areas. This bottle could have been thrown by one of the tourists who visited the elephant camp or the forest rest house in the heart of the park.… Read More

Wild Dogs (Dhole) spotted in Pungro, Eastern Nagaland

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In a rare sighting, birdwatchers Atul Jain, Manoj Sharma and Harkirat Sanga spotted a pack of 6 Dhole or Indian wild dogs (Cuon alpinus) near Pungro town in Eastern Nagaland not far from the Myanmar border. The pack had four pups and two adults. Not suprisingly, the pack appeared to be scared as it was being chased by a local villager trying to hunt it down unsuccessfully with a stone. Not much is known about wild dogs from … Read More