Conserving the Dholes a Priority- Now or Never!

Conserving the Dholes a Priority- Now or Never!

As many species stand at the brink of extinction, conversationalists are trying their best to spread mass awareness about these animals. One of many such animals that are classified as endangered are the Asiatic wild dogs or the dholes. Recent estimation shows that their numbers have reduced to less than 2,500, globally. Their numbers are still on the decline and the major reason is the habitat loss and decrease in the number of prey. Dholes are known to require a large space for their hunting requirements in Asia. In comparison to tigers or leopards, dholes consume more ungulates and thus, require larger prey numbers.

Moreover, not much research is conducted on these species to formulate their mortality factors. A prevalent disease might also be the working factor for the reducing population of dholes. A team of scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), India, University of Florida, National Centre for Biological Sciences, and Wildlife Conservation Trust, put in their collaborative effort to conserve the endangered dholes. They administered a combination of economic, political, and social means to bring the balance back.

The researchers put together a study to evaluate the current status of the population of dholes in each state. Based on the findings, they will put together a plan to expand their forest habitats and increase their distribution range. Dholes have been deemed as the largest carnivore alongside tigers. The lead author of the study, Arjun Srivastha, said, “As a country that perhaps supports the largest number of dholes in the world, we still do not have targeted management plans for scientific monitoring of the species.”

Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh have ranked higher on the priority list in India. Therefore, it has triggered the administration to take steps on increasing prey density and reducing the forest pressure. On the other hand, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, and Telangana have to take steps to increase their investment in the forest coverage areas. Moreover, the increase in prey density and forest coverage would strengthen the link between Central India and the Western Ghats for the dholes.

The animals cover around 685 of 2432 sub-districts in India which is somewhat around 40%. GPS collars on dholes will also help to give an estimate on the home range size of each animal. Even if the packs overlap, it will be useful information to come to a conclusion. The collars will also help to determine the cause of death among them. Moreover, a constructive idea will be developed on their diet and frequency of hunting. This initiative to bring about a change in the population of dholes throughout Asia, particularly India, will bring long-term benefits.

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