Prey base, habitat dictate Asiatic wild dog-tiger coexistence: study

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Source: The post is based on the article “Prey base, habitat dictate Asiatic wild dog-tiger coexistence: study” published in “The Hindu” on 9th October 2023

What is the News?

A recent study in Manas National Park in Assam has found that dholes (Asiatic wild dogs) and tigers may have a positive association due to overlapping prey availability of suitable habitats.

What is the study conducted on Dholes?

A study was conducted titled ‘Do dholes segregate themselves from their sympatrids? Habitat use and carnivore co-existence in the tropical forest’.

Sympatric refers to animals, plant species, and populations within the same or overlapping geographical areas.

The study aimed to assess the relative abundance index, habitat use, and factors influencing dhole co-existence with other sympatric carnivores in Manas National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

– Note: Manas National Park in Assam and the adjoining Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan form one of the largest areas of conservation significance in South Asia representing the full range of habitats from the subtropical plains to the alpine zone.The range of habitats in the cross-border national park is ideal for the dholes. 

What are the key findings of the study?

The study found a positive relationship between dhole habitat use and tigers challenging the assumption of antagonistic interactions between the two species.

The positive association could be attributed to overlapping prey availability or habitat suitability, suggesting the possibility of co-existence or cooperative behaviors between dholes and tigers.

Significance of this study: The study highlights the importance of good habitats and forests, such as Manas National Park, as wildlife mega-cities or hotspots that provide various niches and possibilities.

– Any disruption to such ecological balance could have far-reaching consequences.

What is Dhole?

Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a wild carnivorous animal and is a member of the family Canidae and the class Mammalia.They are also known as Asian wild dogs.

Historically, dholes purportedly occurred throughout southern Russia all across central Asia, south Asia and southeast Asia.

But recent research and current distribution maps indicate that they are restricted to south and southeast Asia with the northernmost populations in China.

In India, Dholes are found in three clusters namely the Western and Eastern Ghats, central Indian landscape and North East India.

According to a 2020 study, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in conservation of dhole.

IUCN Status: Endangered

CITES: Appendix II

Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule II

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