Dhole

He is a wild animal

Origin
Many Asian countries
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
The possession of this animal is not authorized Royal Decree establishing the list of mammals not kept for production purposes that may be kept (M.B. 24.08.2009)
The Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a canid native to Central, South and Southeast Asia. Other English names for the species include Asian wild dog, Indian wild dog, hissing dog, red dog and mountain wolf. It is genetically close to species of the genus Canis, although its skull is convex rather than concave in profile, it lacks a lower third molar and the upper molars bear only a single cusp, as opposed to two to four. During the Pleistocene, the Dhole varied across Asia, Europe and North America, but became restricted to its historical range 12,000 - 18,000 years ago.

The Dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans without rigid dominance hierarchies and containing multiple breeding females. These clans are generally made up of 12 individuals, but groups of over 40 are known. It is a diurnal pack hunter, preferentially targeting medium-sized and large ungulates. In tropical forests, the Dhole competes with tigers and leopards, targeting somewhat different prey species, but with significant dietary overlap.

It is classified as an endangered species by the IUCN, as populations are declining and are estimated at less than 2,500 adults. Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, prey loss, competition with other species, persecution due to livestock predation and disease transfer from domestic dogs.

The species was first described in the literature in 1794 by an explorer named Pesteref, who encountered Dholes during his travels in the far east of Russia. He described the animal as a regular hunter of the Alpine ibex, and bears many similarities to the golden jackal. The binomial name Canis alpinus was given to it in 1811 by Peter Pallas, who described its range as encompassing the upper levels of Udskoi Ostrog in Amurland, eastwards and into the upper Lena region, although he wrote that he had seen it around the Yenisei River, and that it sometimes crossed into China. This northern Russian range reported by this "almost impeccable" author, Pallas, during the 18th and 19th centuries, is "considerably north" of where this species occurs today. British naturalist Brian Hodgson gave the Dhole the binomial name Canis primaevus and proposed that it was the ancestor of the domestic dog. Hodgson later noted the Dhole's physical distinctiveness from the genus Canis and assigned it to a new genus Cuon.

The first study of the species' origins was carried out by paleontologist Erich Thenius, who concluded that the Dhole was a post-Pleistocene descendant of a golden jackal-like ancestor. The oldest known member of the Cuon genus is the Chinese Cuon majori from the Villafranchian period. It resembled Canis more closely in physical form than the modern species, which has considerably reduced its molars, whose cusps have developed into sharp points. By the Middle Pleistocene, C. majori had completely lost the last lower molar. C. alpinus itself appeared at the end of the Middle Pleistocene, by which time the transformation of the lower molar into a single cutting tooth had been completed. Late Middle Pleistocene Dholes were virtually indistinguishable from their modern descendants, except for their larger size, which closely resembled that of the gray wolf. The Dhole became extinct in much of Europe at the end of the Würm, although it survived until the early Holocene in the Iberian Peninsula, and at Riparo Fredian in northern Italy. The vast Pleistocene range of this species also included many islands in Asia that this species no longer inhabited, such as Sri Lanka, Borneo and possibly Palawan in the Philippines. The fossil record indicates that the species also appeared in North America, with remains found in Beringia and Mexico.

In appearance, the Dhole has variously been described as combining the physical characteristics of the gray wolf and the red fox, and as being "cat-like" due to its long spine and slender limbs. It has a broad, massive skull with a well-developed sagittal crest, and its masseter muscles are highly developed compared with other canid species, giving the face an almost hyena-like appearance. The muzzle is shorter than that of domestic dogs and most other canids. The species has six rather than seven lower molars. The upper molars are weak, one-third to one-half of those of wolves, and have only one cusp as opposed to the two to four usual in canids, an adaptation designed to improve shearing capacity, enabling it to compete more effectively with kleptoparasites. Adult females can weigh from 10 to 17 kg, while slightly larger males can weigh from 15 to 21 kg. The average weight of adults in three small samples was 15.1 kg. From time to time, Dholes can be sympatric with the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), which is one of the smallest breeds of gray wolf, but is still around 25% heavier on average. It measures 43-56 cm at the shoulder and is 0.91 m long. Like the African wild dog, its ears are rounded rather than pointed. They have six or seven pairs of teats, sometimes eight.

The general tone of the coat is reddish, with the brightest hues occurring in winter. In the winter coat, the back is dressed in a saturated to reddish-red color with brownish highlights along the head, neck and shoulders. The throat, chest, flanks, belly and upper limbs are less colorful and more yellowish. The lower parts of the limbs are whitish, with dark brownish stripes on the anterior sides of the forelimbs. The muzzle and forehead are grayish and reddish. The tail is very luxuriant and fluffy, and is mainly reddish-ochre in color, with a dark brown tip. The summer coat is shorter, coarser and darker. Dorsal and lateral guard hairs in adults measure 20-30 mm in length. Dholes in Moscow Zoo moult once a year from March to May.

In Central Asia, Dholes mainly inhabit mountainous areas. In the western half of their range, they live mainly in alpine meadows and mountain steppes high above sea level, while in the east, they are found mainly in mountain taiga. In India, Myanmar, Indochina, Indonesia and China, they prefer forested areas in alpine zones, and sometimes also in lowland regions.

The Dhole may still be present in the Tunkinsky National Park in the far south of Siberia, near Lake Baikal. It probably still exists in the Primorsky Krai province in the Russian Far East, where it was considered a rare and endangered species in 2004, with unconfirmed reports in the Pikthsa-Tigrovy Dom protected forest area, no sightings having been reported in other areas such as the Mataisky Zakaznik forest since the late 1970s.

Currently, no other recent reports have confirmed the presence of Dhole in Russia, with no recent reports from Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan, although one specimen has been captured in the Jiangxi district of southern China. In addition, from 2011 to 2013, local officials and herders reported the presence of several packs at altitudes of 2,000 to 3,500 m near the Taxkorgan reserve in the Karakoram / Pamir region of the Xinjiang autonomous region, bordering Pakistan and Tajikistan. and Afghanistan.

Dholes have also recently been reported in the Altyn-Tagh (Altun) mountains, in the southern part of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, close to Tibet. It is not known whether Dholes continue to inhabit the Tien Shan, although they do occur in small numbers in Gansu province, with one group observed in the Qilian mountains in this province in 2006, the northern boundary of this Gansu province in 2013-2014 confirmed the continued presence of several packs and an adult female with cubs in this area at altitudes of around 2,500 to 4,000 m.

Dholes still occur in Tibet, and possibly also in North Korea. They have already occurred in the alpine steppes stretching from Kashmir to the Ladakh region, but have not been recorded in Pakistan.

They occur in most of India south of the Ganges, particularly in the highlands of central India and the Western and Eastern Ghats. In northeast India, it is found in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal, and in the Terai region of the Indo-Gangetic plain. Dhole populations in the Himalayas and northwest India are fragmented.

In 2011, packs of Dhole were recorded by camera traps in Chitwan National Park. Its presence was confirmed in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area in 2011 by camera traps.

In Bhutan, Dholes recovered from a poisoning campaign in the 1970s and were re-established in the 1990s. Today, they perform in Jigme Dorji National Park.

Dholes are still found in the forest reserves of northeastern Bangladesh in the Sylhet region, as well as in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast. These areas are unlikely to contain viable populations, as most sightings involve small groups or solitary specimens, and numbers are probably declining due to lack of prey.

The presence of Dholes in Myanmar has been confirmed by camera trapping in 11 areas, and alongside leopards, have apparently replaced tigers as the country's main predators. In 2015, Dholes and tigers were recorded by camera traps for the first time in the hill forests of Karen State.

Their range is highly fragmented in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Vietnam and Thailand. In 2014, camera trap videos in mountainous rainforests at 2,000 m in Kerinci Seblat National Park in Sumatra revealed the continued presence of this species. A camera-trapping survey in Thailand's Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Reserve, from January 2008 to February 2010, revealed at least one healthy bundle of Dhole. In northern Laos, Dholes were surveyed (2012) in protected areas.

An isolated population of this species was reported in the Trabzon and Rize region of northeastern Turkey near the border with Georgia in the 1990s by two Turkish zoologists. Some authorities accepted this report, but others considered it unreliable. In addition, an individual was reportedly shot dead in 2013 in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria (a Russian republic immediately north of Georgia in the Central Caucasus); its remains (including a skull) were analyzed by a biologist from Kabardino-Balkarian State University in May 2015, who concluded that the skull was from a Dhole. Recently, in August 2015, researchers from the National Natural History Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria (including Dr. Nikolai Spassov, the museum's current director) and Karadeniz Technical University began an expedition to track and document this possible Turkish Dhole population. On October 12, 2015, this research team reported the preliminary conclusion that there is no real evidence of a living Dhole population in Turkey (or the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria), pending DNA analysis of samples from the original Serez-Eroglu skins from 1994.

Dholes are more social than gray wolves and have less of a dominance hierarchy, as seasonal food scarcity is not a serious concern for them. In this way, they closely resemble African wild dogs in social structure. They live in clans rather than packs, as the latter term refers to a group of animals that always hunt together. On the other hand, Dhole clans frequently divide into small packs of 3-5 animals, especially during the spring season, as this is the optimum number for catching fawns. Dominant Dholes are difficult to identify, as they do not indulge in dominance displays as wolves do, although other clan members show submissive behavior towards them. Intra-clan fighting is rarely observed. Dholes are much less territorial than wolves, and pups from one clan often join another without problem once they mature sexually. Clans usually number from 5 to 12 in India, but clans of up to 40 have been reported. In Thailand, clans rarely exceed three individuals. Unlike other canids, there is no evidence that Dholes use urine to mark their territories or travel routes. When urinating, Dholes, particularly males, may lift one or both hind legs to form a headstand. Micturition can also be observed in bush dogs (Speothos venaticus). They may defecate in conspicuous places, although a territorial function is unlikely, as excrement is mostly deposited in the clan territory rather than on the periphery. Faeces are often deposited in what appear to be communal latrines. They do not scrape the ground with their feet as other canids do to mark their territory.

Four types of dens have been described; simple burrows with one entrance (usually remodeled striped hyenas or porcupine dens); complex underground caves with more than one entrance; simple cavernous caves excavated under or between rocks; and complex cavernous dens with several other dens nearby, some of which are interconnected. Moats are usually located under dense scrub or on the banks of rivers or dry creeks. The entrance to a den may be almost vertical, with a sharp turn of three to four feet. The tunnel leads into an antechamber, from which more than one passageway extends. Some burrows may have up to six entrances leading to 100 feet (30 m) of interconnecting tunnels. These "cities" can be developed over several generations of Dholes, and are shared by females in the clan as they grow up together. Like wild dogs and African dingoes, Dholes will avoid killing prey near their dens.

In India, the mating season takes place between mid-October and January, while the captive Dholes at Moscow Zoo breed mainly in February. Unlike wolf packs, Dhole clans can contain more than one breeding female. More than one female Dhole can nest and raise their litters together in the same den. During mating, the female assumes a crouching, cat-like position. There is no copulatory bonding characteristic of other canids when the male descends. Instead, the pair lie on their sides facing each other in a semi-circular formation. The gestation period lasts from 60 to 63 days, with an average size of 4 to 6 pups. Their growth rate is much faster than that of wolves, being similar to that of coyotes. Puppies are nursed for at least 58 days. During this time, the pack feeds the mother at the den site. Dholes don't use rendezvous sites to meet their pups as wolves do, although one or more adults will stay with the pups at the den while the rest of the pack hunts. Once weaning has begun, the adults in the clan will regurgitate food for the pups until they are old enough to participate in the hunt. They remain at the den site for 70-80 days. At six months of age, the pups accompany the adults on hunts and help kill large prey such as sambar at eight months. Maximum longevity in captivity is 15 to 16 years.

Before embarking on the hunt, clans go through elaborate pre-hunt social rituals involving whips, body rubs and homosexual and heterosexual mounts. The Dholes are mainly diurnal hunters, hunting in the early hours of the morning. They rarely hunt at night, except on full moon nights, indicating that they rely heavily on sight when hunting. Although not as fast as jackals and foxes, they can chase their prey for several hours. During a chase, one or more Dholes may take over to pursue their prey, while the rest of the pack keeps up a steady pace, taking over once the other group tires. Most chases are short, lasting just 500 m.

Once the prey is captured, one Dhole grabs the nose of the prey, while the rest of the pack pulls the animal by the flanks and hindquarters. They do not use a lethal throat bite. They sometimes blind their prey by attacking the eyes. Serows are among the only ungulate species capable of defending themselves effectively against Dhole attacks, thanks to their thick protective coats and short, sharp horns capable of impaling Dholes easily. They will rip open the sides of their prey and disembowel them, eating the heart, liver, lungs and parts of the intestines. The stomach and rumen are usually left intact. Prey weighing less than 50 kg usually die within two minutes, while large deer can take 15 minutes to die. Once the prey has been secured, Dholes will detach pieces of the carcass and eat in isolation. Unlike wolf packs, in which breeding pairs monopolize food, Dholes give priority to pups when feeding during a kill, allowing them to eat first. They generally tolerate scavengers at their kill. Mother and young receive food regurgitated by other pack members.

Prey in India includes chital, sambar, muntjac, mouse deer, swamp deer, wild boar, gaur, buffalo, banteng, cattle, nilgai, goats, Indian hares, Himalayan field rats and langurs. There's a record of one group shooting a young Indian elephant in Assam, despite the mother's desperate defense, resulting in many casualties for the platoon. In Kashmir, they hunt markhor and thamin in Myanmar, Malay tapir, Sumatran serow in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, and Java rusa in Java. In the Tien Shan and Tarbagatai mountains, the Dholes hunt Siberian ibex, arkhar, roe deer, maral and wild boar. In the Altai and Sayan mountains, they hunt musk deer and reindeer. In eastern Siberia, they feed on roe deer, Manchu elk, wild pigs, musk deer and reindeer, while in Primorye, they also feed on sika deer and gorillas. In Mongolia, they feed on argali and rarely on Siberian ibex. Like African wild dogs, but unlike wolves, Dholes are not known to attack people. Dholes eat fruit and vegetables more readily than other canids. In captivity, they eat various types of herbs, fruits and leaves, apparently for pleasure rather than just when they're sick. In summer, in the Tien Shan mountains, Dholes eat large quantities of mountain rhubarb. Although opportunistic, the Dholes have an apparent aversion to hunting cattle and their calves. Since the late 1990s, livestock predation by Dholes has been a problem in Bhutan, as domestic animals are often left outside to graze in the forest, sometimes for weeks at a time. Cattle fed in cowsheds at night and grazing near houses are never attacked. Oxen are killed more often than cows, probably because they receive less protection.

In some areas, Dholes are sympatric with tigers and leopards. Competition between these species is generally avoided by differences in prey selection, although there is still considerable overlap in feeding. With leopards, Dholes generally target animals weighing 30-175 kg (average weight 35.3 kg for Dhole and 23.4 kg for leopard), while tigers selected for prey exceed 176 kg (but their average weight was 65.5 kg). In addition, other prey characteristics, such as sex, arboreality and aggressiveness, can play a role in prey selection. For example, leopards preferentially kill males, while leopards kill more of both sexes (tigers prefer larger prey), Dholes and tigers rarely kill langurs compared to leopards, as leopards rarely kill wild boar, the inability of this relatively light predator to tackle aggressive prey of comparable weight.

On occasion, Dholes may attack tigers. When confronted by Dholes, tigers take refuge in trees or stand with their backs to a tree or bush, where they may be assaulted for long periods before finally attempting to escape. Tigers that escape are usually killed, while tigers that stand their ground have a greater chance of survival. Tigers are dangerous opponents for Dholes, as they have sufficient strength to kill a Dhole with a single paw strike. Dhole packs can kill leopard lions, while leopards can kill Dholes if they encounter them singly or in pairs. As leopards are smaller than tigers and more likely to hunt Dholes, Dhole packs tend to react more aggressively towards them than tigers.

Dhole packs sometimes attack Asiatic black bears and sloth bears. When attacking bears, they try to prevent them from seeking refuge in caves and lacerating their hindquarters.

Although generally hostile to wolves, they can hunt and feed off each other. There is at least one record of a lone wolf associating with a pair of Dholes in the Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary. They rarely associate in mixed groups with golden jackals. Domestic dogs can kill Dholes, although they occasionally feed them.

Dholes are vulnerable to a number of different diseases, particularly in areas where they are sympatric with other canid species. Infectious pathogens such as Toxocara canis are present in their feces. They can suffer from rabies, distemper, mange, trypanosomiasis, canine parvovirus and endoparasites such as cestodes and roundworms.

The Dhole is very rarely domesticated. Some people, such as the Kurumbas and certain Mongolian-speaking tribes, will appropriate Dholes, and some Indian villagers welcome the Dhole because of this appropriation of Dhole kills. Dholes were persecuted throughout India for bounties until they were protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Methods used to hunt Dholes included poisoning, snaring, shooting and clubbing at den sites. Native Indians killed Dholes mainly to protect livestock, while the British did the same during the British Raj, convinced that Dholes were responsible for falling game populations. Dhole persecution still occurs with varying degrees of intensity depending on the region. Bounties paid for Dholes were 25 rupees, although this was reduced to 20 in 1926, after the number of Dhole carcasses presented became too high to maintain the established reward. In Indochina, Dholes suffer greatly from non-selective hunting techniques such as snaring.

The fur trade is not a major threat to the Dholes. The people of India do not eat Dhole flesh, and its fur is not considered too valuable. Due to their rarity, Dholes are never harvested in large numbers for their skins in the Soviet Union, and are sometimes accepted as dog or wolf skins (being labeled as "half-wolf" for the latter). Winter fur was appreciated by the Chinese, who bought Dhole skins in Ussuriysk in the late 1860s for a few rubles. In the early 20th century, Dhole skins fetched eight roubles in Manchuria. In Semirechye, fur coats made from Dhole skins were considered the warmest, but they were very expensive.

The Dhole is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The creation of reserves under Project Tiger has provided some protection for tiger-sympathetic Dhole populations. In 2014, the Indian government sanctioned its first Dhole conservation breeding center at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) in Visakhapatnam. The Dhole has been protected in Russia since 1974, although it is vulnerable to poisons left behind by wolves. In China, the animal is classified as a category II protected species under the 1988 Chinese Wildlife Protection Law. In Cambodia, the Dhole is protected from all hunting, while conservation laws in Vietnam restrict extraction and use.

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