Scientists Using GPS Tracking on Endangered Dhole Wild Dogs

9 Oct 2018

Researchers Successfully Tag a Dhole. Wildlife scientists around the globe are ecstatic to hear that researchers were able to successfully place a GPS tracking device onto a dhole. This marks the first time in history that conservationists have been able to place a collar on one of these very rare Indian wild dogs. It’s estimated that less than 2,500 of these creatures still exist globally.

Scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India descended on Kanha National Park in the hopes of finding a dhole to tag, but they had to wait nearly ten days before they were able to track a pack down.

The small pack had a total of about 14 dholes, and they were located in a meadow in the Mukki range. Researchers tranquilized an adult dhole that they later identified as a female. They quickly analyzed the animal’s health and secured a GPS tracker collar on the animal before releasing her back to the pack.

About Dhole Wild Dogs

Researchers are particularly excited for this project because very little is known about the dhole species. Much of the available research on these creatures come from very outdated observations or drawing parallels between African Wild Dogs, a close relative of dholes. The last significant study on these creatures was conducted back in the 1970s.

Dholes are reddish brown wild dogs that predominately reside in Southeast, Central and South Asia. They most closely resemble a blend between red foxes and grey wolves. While these animals thrive in large groups, a declining population has reduced them to packs of about 12 to 40 dogs.

These highly social animals rarely experience intragroup fighting unlike wolves and other pack animals. Dholes are also less territorial and appear to utilize communal latrines.

Pups are raised communally, and adults responsibly care for their young. Experts have classified the animals as an endangered and protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

They believe factors such as human influence, diseases from domestic dogs, a loss of prey, a reduced habitat and hunting have all contributed to the drastic reduction of the dhole population.

Scientists expect to discover more insights into this beautiful animal through this newest GPS tracking study.

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