ASIATIC WILD DOG / DHOLE
Scientific name: Cuon alpines
The Dhole is a canid species native to Central, South and Southeast Asia. Other English names for the species include Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog ,red dog etc.
Like other medium-sized canines, the dhole is a highly sociable animal that spends it’s life as part of a pack. The dhole is well-known for the vocal calls that it uses to communicate with it’s pack. It is said that the repetitive whistles of the dhole are so distinctive that individuals’ animals can be easily identified by their calls. It is a diurnal pack hunter which preferentially targets medium and large sized prey.
The general tone of the fur is reddish, with the brightest hues occurring in winter. In the winter coat, the back is clothed in a saturated rusty-red to reddish colour with brownish highlights along the top of the head, neck and shoulders. The throat, chest, flanks, belly and the upper parts of the limbs are less brightly coloured, and are more yellowish in tone. The lower parts of the limbs are whitish, with dark brownish bands on the anterior sides of the forelimbs. The muzzle and forehead are greyish-reddish. The tail is very luxuriant and fluffy, and is mainly of a reddish-ocherous colour, with a dark brown tip. Adults may weigh over 18 kg (40 lb), with females usually weighing 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) less than males. It stands 17–22 inches at the shoulder and measures three feet in body length.
After breeding, female dholes give birth to between 5 and 12 pups after a two month long gestation period. Dhole pups grow rapidly and are cared for by both their parents, and by other adult dholes in the pack. The dhole pups begin to hunt when they are a few months old and reach adult size by the time they are about a year and a half old.
It is listed as endangered species by IUCN. Today, the dhole is endangered in the wild as populations have been reduced to less than 2,000 individuals across their native territories. The main reason for the severe decline in the dhole population numbers is thought to be through habitat loss and hunting from humans.