Dhole – An Endangered Species
Sightings of Dholes or Wild Dogs is always a special feeling. Not because they are endangered and their sightings are rare, but the way they carry themselves in the wild, perhaps that sense of freedom and full of life attitude that sets them apart.
Before we proceed further, here is a clip from my recent sighting:
Table of Contents
Dholes, a member of Dog family, are highly social animals and are mostly sighted in a pack of 10 to 12 dogs. They prefer to stay in groups and hunt together as a team. The group can even be as big as 40 plus odd dogs without any rigid dominance hierarchies. The group usually have multiple breeding females.
There was only this one time in Dandeli forest, that I saw a Wild Dog sitting alone for a longtime. Perhaps the pack must have been nearby and we could not spot them.
They are great hunters and prefer hunting in the mornings. But they don’t shy away from hunting on a moonlit night either. They greatly depend on sight when hunting. Since they cannot run fast, they compensate by giving a long chase to their prey. As they work in group, they take turns to keep the chase on. The other members of the group will maintain a steady pace to preserve energy and replace the dogs in line of action when tired. Reminds me of a special documentary series that came on BBC World – The Hunter which documented this behavior so well.
What is the Conservation Status of Wild Dogs?
Dholes or Wild Dogs are Endangered species as per IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Their numbers are believed to be declining and is just about 2500 mature individuals worldwide. Thanks to the habitat loss due to ever greedy human race claiming every inch of Earth that is livable. Other factors include loss of prey, competition with other species, and even disease transfer from domestic dogs.
Where are Dholes found?
They are native to Central, South, East and Southeast Asia.
What are some other names of Dhole?
Dholes are known by many other names like Asian Wild Dog, Asiatic Wild Dog, Indian Wild Dog, Whistling Dog, Red Dog, Red Wolf and Mountain Wolf.
My recent Dhole Sightings
We were in B.R.T. Tiger reserve on an early morning jeep safari. While we were about to enter the dense forest through the usual muddy path, our Safari jeep driver noticed a car coming from the main road which leads to the forest. He waited for the vehicle to come and give him the intel of any wildlife movements in that path. The whole act of waiting for the vehicle coming in from the other side and then the stopping of the vehicle to give the wildlife intel was a pre-agreed understanding.
As soon as we got the intel of the sightings of the Wild Dogs, the driver raced through the gas pedal to drive the vehicle in the direction of the sightings. Soon we reached the spot where we sighted two Wild Dogs sitting on the side of the road. One curiously looking at us, while the other one not bothered by our presence.
Images from the Encounters
It was still dark and could not get the quality photos. Our informers had also told us about sightings of Indian Byson at a distance. We chose to try our luck and drove further in the search.
It was time for us to get back to the Dogs and soon we took the road back to the spot were we had spotted the wild dogs. We were greeted by about 10 to 15 wild dogs on the arrival.
The sun was in full bloom and the golden light reflecting off their fur was such a beautiful sight. Here is another pic that turned out to be my favorite from the trip.
Had written a detailed blog from our safari experience from the trip. Sharing the same below for easy reference.
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Gears used in the Trip
Iphone 11 Pro and Iphone 13 for wide shots
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