|Town/Region||Jigme Dorji National Park|
|Date||5 Feb 2016|
The Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus), which is also commonly known as dhole in the Indian sub-continent, is an endangered species. Its global population is estimated at 2,500 individuals, making it even rarer than the tiger (Panthera tigris) which is one of its sympatric and endangered predator guild members.
Throughout its global range, the dhole is the least studied among the large carnivores. Even in Bhutan, there is not much ecological information about the dhole even though it constitutes a large predator guild together with tiger and leopard (Panthera pardus). Moreover, this endangered predator is not even listed under the totally protected category represented by Schedule I of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan of 1995. Part of the reason for not listing is because of the paucity of information on its population status and distribution in the country. Therefore, I intend to study the status and distribution in Jigme Dorji National Park, which is located in north western Bhutan.
All designated survey routes will be traversed by several survey teams. During the field survey, the signs of dholes will be searched and their occurrences in a particular habitat type and other site characteristics will be recorded. Whenever encountered, the survey teams will collect DNA samples from fresh scats of wild dogs as per the Standard Operation Procedure to be developed by the principal investigator.
The distribution pattern of dholes in the park will be determined using the latest version of the program MaxEnt for which all relevant spatial layers corresponding to each significant factor influencing dhole occurrence will be used.
One notable output of the project will be the creation of baseline information on the population status and distribution of dholes in Jigme Dorji National Park. Another tangible output that will aid conservation is enlisting the factors determining dhole distribution in the park. Further, the findings from the study will help determine the status of the species in the country and to use this as a basis to rationalize listing or delisting of the species from Schedule I of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan.
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