Fine-Scale Drivers of the Status and Distribution of Dhole (Cuon alpinus) in Parsa National Park (PNP), Nepal

Sujan Khanal

Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a member of the canid (dog) family and is considered “Endangered" both in Nepal and globally. Dhole are protected in Nepal; however knowledge of Nepalese populations is confined to presence records in a few Protected Areas, including Parsa National Park (PNP). The status, distribution and habitat use of Dhole in PNP are poorly understood. While several novel conservation initiatives have been introduced in PNP, these have focused on tiger conservation. The lack of baseline information on the status, distribution and fine-scale drivers of habitat use for Dhole have impeded conservation efforts for this species in PNP and more broadly across the Terai. This dearth of information is contributing to the decline of Dhole. The species is locally extinct from several Indian PAs including the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The information generated from this project will enable PNP authorities to develop management practices specifically targeted for Dhole conservation. The community outreach Programme will raise local people’s awareness of the ecological value of Dhole and support long term conservation outcomes. Once established, these practices can be expanded to other PAs across the Dhole’s range. This project will identify fine scale drivers of Dhole habitat use by assessing prey species, habitat characteristics and disturbance factors.

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