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Home-range size of dhole estimated using camera traps for the first time in India
| February 28, 2017
Dr. Ullas Karanth
Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org> | Phone: 080-2211 8976
Researchers present for the first time using camera-traps, home-range size of Asiatic wild dogs (dholes)
Study is based on intensive camera-trap surveys in the Western Ghat forests
Researchers track two marked individuals, and record their movement in these forests
BENGALURU 27 February 2017 - A new study led by scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program, Centre for Wildlife Studies (Bangalore), and University of Florida, USA, presents the first home-range size estimate of Asiatic wild dogs or ‘dholes’ based on camera trap surveys.
The study, based on intensive camera-trap surveys conducted in Nagarahole and Wayanad wildlife reserves in the Western Ghats India, was part of a long-term project on tiger population dynamics in the region.
Lead author of the study Mr. Arjun Srivathsa, who is a doctoral student at the University of Florida says that "Typically, radio-telemetry is used to obtain information on home-range sizes of large carnivores such as dhole. This is expensive and requires careful handling of animals. In contrast, our estimates are generated through innovative use of non-invasive and relatively inexpensive camera-trap pictures".
From November 2014 to January 2015 (45 days), the researchers set-up and monitored camera traps which yielded incidental photographic captures of dholes. Unlike tigers or leopards, individual dholes cannot be uniquely identified from camera-trap photographs because they do not have pelage patterns or natural body markings. Yet the researchers were able to identify two individuals in a pack of five animals, based on distinct markings on their pelage, enabling them to map locations of the pack during the survey period.
Dholes labelled DHL-101 and DHL-102 from the pack of five, identified based on an injury mark (yellow circle) and white coloration on the lower right forelimb (blue circle), respectively, photo- captured in a single frame. Photo ©Ullas Karanth/WCS
Dholes are among the least studied large carnivores in the world. Unlike many other social carnivores, dholes occur at low densities in dense tropical forests. They are wary, difficult to capture and radio-collar, and thereby pose several logistical challenges in the field for tracking their movements or studying their behaviour. For the first time in India, their home-range size (roughly 85 sq. km) has been estimated based on non-invasive camera-trap surveys.
The study appears in the January issue of the international journal Canid Biology and Conservation. Authors: Arjun Srivathsa (Centre for Wildlife Studies, Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program and University of Florida, USA), Dr. N. Samba Kumar (Centre for Wildlife Studies and Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program) and Dr. K. Ullas Karanth (Centre for Wildlife Studies, India and Wildlife Conservation Society, New York). It is accessible online at: http://www.canids.org/CBC/20/Dhole_home_range.pdf
*Top image of Asiatic Wild Dog by Shekar Dattatri
Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.
WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.
Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind