The Asian dhole (Cuon alpinus), also known as the Asiatic wild dog, is native to southeast Asia. They are most commonly found in tropical forests, but also live in some evergreen forests and grasslands. The global population is estimated at only around 2,500 individuals and declining due to loss of habitat, decrease in prey and disease. Dholes are listed as Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
This project by researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (in collaboration with other organizations) is investigating the ecology and movements of dholes in Thailand, and the disease threat potentially posed by domestic dogs. The project is also creating an outreach education opportunity for local villagers. The Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program funded supplies needed to conduct the research. Dholes were captured and radio-collared so data could be collected on the dholes’ movements and their health could be monitored. This project was championed by in 2010 by Tony Fisher, Animal Collection Manager at the Minnesota Zoo and in 2011 by Fred Swengel, Zookeeper.