The Asiatic Wild Dog is also called as Dhole, red dog, Asian wild dog, Indian wild dog, and mountain wolf. It is a native species to South Asia, Central Asia, South East Asia, and East Asia. It plays the major role of top predators in forest ecosystem. It competes with leopard and tiger for its prey. The population of Asiatic Wild Dog is declining due to loss of prey, habitat loss, competition with other species, disease transfer from domestic dogs and persecution due to livestock predation.
About Asiatic Wild Dogs
They are social animals. They live in large clans and not in packs. Pack refers to group of blood related animals and they hunt together. On the other hand, clan break into smaller packs. Each clan consists of more than twelve dholes. The dholes tend to shift to their desired clans after maturing sexually. They are diurnal (hunt during day) and target medium and large sized preys. However, they also hunt during moon lit nights and become nocturnal during such times. They live in dens. Their dens are usually located on the banks of rivers or creeks. They usually do not hunt preys close to their dens. The mating season of the dholes in India occurs between October and January. Unlike wolf packs, there are more than one breeding female in dhole clans. The female dholes den together to raise their young ones.
The IUCN has listed the Dhole under “Endangered” category. Besides tiger, the Dhole is the only large carnivore listed as “Endangered” in India. They are protected as Schedule II species under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The first population estimation of the Asiatic Wild Dog in India was held by the Wildlife Conservation Society, India, University of Florida, National Centre for Biological Sciences and Stanford University. It was held at the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. According to the study, there are around fifty Dholes in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. The study also found that both tiger and Asiatic Wild Dogs co-existed in the sanctuary. The fact that two large carnivores coexist in an ecosystem indicates the abundance of prey in the habitat. Also, it shows that the health of the ecosystem is in good condition.