Whistling Wild Dogs in Thailand
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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Whistling Wild Dogs in Thailand

Join scientists in uncovering the mysteries of endangered dholes within a protected wildlife sanctuary.


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

While dholes have long been present inside several protected areas in Thailand, there is little to no research focusing directly on this species.

Researchers and wildlife managers require a better understanding of dholes and their prey to better protect this endangered species in Thailand.

Dhole

Scientists aim to shift public perceptions of dholes to help ensure a secure future for this species.

In Thailand, the commonly held belief is that this species is overabundant. Dholes hunt in packs, so when people do see them, there can be as many as 20 individuals in a single sighting. The nature of their hunt is brutal and methodical – the pack chases down its prey and, on occasion, herds the animal into water to slow it down before attacking. Some people have reported seeing dholes taking down animals many times their size—including tigers. The wild dogs have also been blamed for the declining population of deer in the region (one of the top prey species in the sanctuary), despite reports of illegal deer poaching activities near the park. Government officials have gone as far as proposing the elimination of dholes in order to protect deer populations.

The goal of this project is to generate biological information about dholes and their prey, knowledge that is critical for developing a global wildlife conservation plan. The researchers aim to complete a full assessment of the ecological attributes and habitat quality of dholes through monitoring individuals and packs using camera traps and radio telemetry. By developing conservation management plans and working closely with the government, scientists aim to shift public perceptions of dholes to help ensure a secure future for this species.

According to the IUCN Red List, there are between 949–2,215 breeding individuals left in the wild. Dholes, or Cuon alpinus, are the only species in the Cuon genus. If we lose dholes, we lose an entire evolutionary genus.

About the research area

Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Uthai Thani Province or Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, Asia

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

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The Scientists

Discussing research

Dr. Ronglarp Sukmasuang has more than 20 years of experience in forest ecology and wildlife research.

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Ronglarp
Sukmasuang
Associate Professor of Forestry, Kasetsart University in Thailand

ABOUT Ronglarp Sukmasuang

Dr. Ronglarp Sukmasuang is an Associate Professor of Forestry at Kasetsart University in Thailand. He has more than 20 years of experience in forest ecology and wildlife research.

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