|Date||10 Dec 2013|
Asiatic wild dogs or Dholes (Cuon alpinus) are classed as endangered and one of the top three most imperilled large carnivores widely distributed from tropical rain forests to freezing mountains. They are one of the only large carnivores for which very little conservation actions have been taken. Fewer than 2,500 mature dholes remain in the wild and declining population trend is expected to continue (Durbin et al. 2008). There is no known dhole population above 250 anywhere and no known population fully secured within a protected area.
We have been implementing a dhole conservation project and doing research in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) since 2010. KCA (2,035 km2), established in 1997 was declared as gift to the Earth. The government of Nepal entrusted the management responsibility of KCA to local communities forming Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council (KCAMC) in 2006. It is the only conservation area of Nepal which is fully managed by the local community.
The primary threats to dholes, similar to other large carnivores, include persecution, habitat loss, and depletion of their prey base, inter-specific competition, and possibly disease transfer from domestic/feral dogs. Research from dhole range countries and from our field site indicates that human-caused mortality is the primary population driver and limiting factor (Johnsingh et al. 2007, Woodroffe 2011). Human caused mortality results primarily from retaliatory killing in conflicts with livestock.
There are more reports of livestock depredation by dholes, but no action has been taken to address the conflict. This project helps to address herders-dhole conflict which assists KCAMC, government officials, and concerned conservation authorities in large carnivore conservation actions in the area in a more sustainable way. Community people will be directly engaged in dhole conservation through Community Managed Livestock Insurance Schemes (CMLIS).
We will conduct continuous research to understand seasonal feeding ecology of dholes and establish CMLIS focusing on dholes in high priority areas. Our approach will work to secure the first viable (>250) dhole population to ensure no extinction of dholes.
Read about Ambika's previous projects http://www.rufford.org/rsg/projects/ambika_khatiwada_0 or for more information contact: