Distribution and habitat use of the endangered Dhole Cuon alpinus (Pallas, 1811) (Mammalia: Canidae) in Jigme Dorji National Park, western Bhutan

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Chhimi Namgyal
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0594-1128
Phuntsho Thinley
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5062-8010

Abstract

The Dhole is a little-studied wild canid with decreasing populations throughout its global range.  We conducted this study in Bhutan’s Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) to establish baseline records of Dhole distribution and habitat use. We used trail transects and recorded animal presence via tracks, scats, direct sightings and camera traps. Ancillary habitat characteristics such as elevation, slope and vegetation cover were recorded to characterise habitat use.  We used MaxEnt model to estimate distribution within JDNP.  We recorded 609 indicators of Dhole presence over a 60-day survey period.  The model estimated almost one-fourth of JDNP as having a high probability of Dhole occurrence, which closely corresponds to the distribution of cool broadleaved forests (CBLF) and areas close to human settlements.  The highest number of indicators was obtained from CBLF, between slope ranges of 2 – 38 degree and elevation ranges of 1,468 m – 4,620 m above sea level, indicating a new record upper altitude limit for Dhole distribution across its global range.  We highlight JDNP as an important Dhole conservation area in the Eastern Himalayas, and recommend drafting a pragmatic conservation plan that will strive to minimize conflicts with livestock owners and include key components such as farmer education and livestock insurance to cover Dhole kills. 

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Namgyal, C. and Thinley, P. 2017. Distribution and habitat use of the endangered Dhole Cuon alpinus (Pallas, 1811) (Mammalia: Canidae) in Jigme Dorji National Park, western Bhutan. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 9, 9 (Sep. 2017), 10649–10655. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3091.9.9.10649-10655.
Section
Communications
Author Biographies

Chhimi Namgyal, igme Dorji National Park, Department of Forests and Park Services, Damji, Gasa, Bhutan

Chhimi Namgyal has been working as a Senior Park Range Officer at Soe Range under Jigme Dorji National Park since 2011.  Prior to his transfer to the park, he has worked as a Forestry Extension Agent in Paro District.  He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the College of Natural Resources, Bhutan, in June 2016.  

 

Phuntsho Thinley, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research, Department of Forests and Park Services, Lamoigoenpa, Bumthang, Bhutan

Phuntsho Thinley (PhD) is a Principal Forestry Research Officer at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research in Bhutan.  He is primarily interested in wildlife ecology and human-wildlife interactions. Formerly the Park Manager of Jigme Dorji National Park (2009–2012), he also teaches at the College of Natural Resources in Bhutan as an adjunct lecturer.

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