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Presence of Asiatic wild dogs in Central Asia after 30 years

  • Published
    5th Feb, 2022

A new study has reported the presence of dholes or Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpinus) in the high mountains of Central Asia nearly 30 years after their presence was last recorded.

The discovery

  • The animals have been discovered in the Bek-Tosot Conservancy in the Osh region of southern Kyrgyzstan, a few kilometres from the Tajik border.
  • It lies in the Pamir mountain range.

There had been no confirmed reports (of dholes) in more than 30 years from the Russian Federation, Mongolia, Kazakhstan (formerly in the Altai and Tian Shan mountains), Kyrgyzstan (formerly in the Tian Shan and Pamir mountains), Afghanistan (formerly in Pamir Mountains), Tajikistan (formerly in Pamir Mountains), or Uzbekistan (formerly in Tian Shan Mountains).


About the Species

  • The dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a canid native to Central and Southeast Asia.
  • Indian population: The species is found in three clusters across India namely the
    • Western and Eastern Ghats
    • Central Indian landscape
    • North East India
  • It is genetically close to species within the genus Canis, though its skull is convex rather than concave in profile, it lacks a third lower molar, and the upper molars sport only a single cusp as opposed to 2–4

During the Pleistocene, the dhole ranged throughout Asia, Europe and North America, but became restricted to its historical range 12, 000–18, 000 years ago.

  • Social animal: The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans without rigid dominance hierarchies and containing multiple breeding females.
    • Such clans usually consist of 12 individuals, but groups of over 40 are known.
  • It is a diurnal pack hunter which preferentially targets medium and large sized ungulates.
  • In tropical forests, the dhole competes with tigers and leopards, targeting somewhat different prey species, but still with substantial dietary overlap.
  • Conservation status: It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN, as populations are decreasing and estimated at less than 2, 500 adults.
  • Threats: Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution, and disease transfer from domestic dogs.
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