Distribution and habitat-use of Dhole Cuon alpinus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Canidae) in Parsa National Park, Nepal

Main Article Content

Santa Bahadur Thing
Jhamak Bahadur Karki
Babu Ram Lamichhane
Shashi Shrestha
Uba Raj Regmi
Rishi Ranabhat


Dhole Cuon alpinus is one of the top predators in Asian forests but is one of the least studied species of carnivores. We surveyed an area of 499 km2 of Parsa National Park (PNP) during the winter (November–January) of 2016–17 using camera-traps to determine the spatial distribution and habitat-use patterns of Dhole.  We overlaid 2 x 2 km2 grid cells (n= 126) across the study area and set up a pair of motion sensor cameras in each grid cells for 21 days.  We modeled the habitat-use by Dholes as a function of sampling covariates and fine-scale habitat covariates using single species single season occupancy models. We estimated the parameters in two steps. First, we defined a global model for probability of habitat-use and modeled detection probability (p) either as an intercept-only model or as a function of covariates.  Second, we modeled the habitat-use probability (Ψ) incorporating the top-ranked model for probability of detection (p) in the first step. A total effort of 2,520 camera-trap-nights resulted in 63 independent detections of dholes at 27 locations in PNP. The naïve occupancy estimate of Dholes in PNP was 0.21. The estimated probability of habitat-use (Ψ) and detection (p) were 0.47±0.27 and 0.24±0.05, respectively. Grassland availability (βG= 8.00±3.09), terrain ruggedness index (βTRI= 0.73±0.34), and Sambar (prey) presence (βS= 1.06±0.51) strong positive association, whereas, stream/exposed surfaces (βSES= -0.45±0.43) had negative association with the habitat use by Dholes. Similarly, detection probability was positively associated with presence of Sambar (βS= 2.44±1.02) but negatively associated with streams/exposed surfaces (βSES= -0.99±0.32) and terrain ruggedness (βTRI= -0.09±0.23). Our study provides quantitative information on the ecology of Dholes with potential applications for improving their conservation efforts in Nepal.

Article Details

How to Cite
Thing, S.B., Karki, J.B., Lamichhane, B.R., Shrestha, S., Regmi, U.R. and Ranabhat, R. 2022. Distribution and habitat-use of Dhole Cuon alpinus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Canidae) in Parsa National Park, Nepal. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 14, 3 (Mar. 2022), 20703–20712. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.6178.14.3.20703-20712.


Abrahms B., S.C. Sawyer, N.R. Jordan, J.W. Mcnutt, A.M. Wilson & J.S. Brashares (2016). Does wildlife resource selection accurately inform corridor conservation? Journal of Applied Ecology 54(2): 412–422. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12714

Acharya, B. (2007). The Ecology of the Dhole or Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus) In Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh. PhD Thesis. Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat.

Andheria, A.P., K.U. Karanth & N.S. Kumar (2007). Diet and prey profiles of three sympatric large carnivores in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, India. Journal of Zoology 273(2): 169–175. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2007.00310.x

Aryal, A., W. Ji, Raubenheimer & D. Brunton (2012). Blue sheep in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal: habitat-use, population biomass and their contribution to the carrying capacity of Snow Leopards. Integrative Zoology 9(1): 34–45. https://doi.org/10.1111/1749-4877.12004

Aryal, A., D. Brunton, W. Ji, D. Karmacharya, T. McCarthy, R. Bencini & D. Raubenheimer (2014). Multipronged strategy including genetic analysis for assessing conservation options for the snow leopard in the central Himalaya. Journal of Mammalogy 95(95): 871–881. https://doi.org/10.1644/13-MAMM-A-243

Aryal, A., S. Panthi, R.K. Barraclough, R. Benchi, K. Adhikari, W. Ji & D. Raubenheimer (2015). Habitat selection and feeding ecology of dhole (Cuon alpinus) in the Himalayas. Journal of Mammalogy 96(1): 47–53. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyu001

Barber-Meyer, S.M., S.R. Jnawali, J.B. Karki, P. Khanal, S. Lohani, B. Long, D.I. MacKenzie, B. Pandav, N.M.B. Pradhan, R. Shrestha, N. Subedi, G. Thapa, K. Thapa & E. Wikramanayake (2013). Influence of prey depletion and human disturbance on tiger occupancy in Nepal. Journal of Zoology 289(1): 10–18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2012.00956.x

Bhattarai, S., C.P. Pokharel, B.R. Lamichhane, U.R. Regmi, A.K. Ram & N. Subedi (2018). Amphibians and Reptiles of Parsa National Park, Nepal. Amphibians & Reptile Conservation 12(1): 35–48 (e155).

Burnham, K.P. & D.R. Anderson (2002). Model Selection and Multimodel Inference. A Practical Information-Theoretic Approach. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA.

Chetri, M. (2003). Food habits of gaur Bos gaurus gaurus Smith, 1827 and livestock (cows and buffaloes) in Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Central Nepal. Himalayan

Journal of Sciences 1(1): 31–36. https://doi.org/10.3126/hjs.v1i1.183

Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of wild Fauna and Flora (2017). www.cites.org

Dhakal, M., M. Thapa, S.R. Jnawali, N. Subedi, N.M.B. Pradhan, S. Malla, B.R. Lamichhane, C.P. Pokheral, G.J. Thapa, J. Oglethorpe, S.A. Subba, P.R. Bajracharya & H. Yadav (2014). Status of tigers and prey in Nepal Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation. Kathmandu, Nepal.

Di Bitetti, M.S., A. Paviolo & C. De Angelo (2006). Density, habitat-use and activity patterns of ocelots Leopardus pardalis in Asiatic Forest of Misiones, Argentina. Journal of Zoology 270(1): 153–163. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00102.x

Dinerstein, E. (1979). An ecological survey of the royal Karnali-Bardia Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. Part I: vegetation, modifying factors, and successional relationships. Biological Conservation 15(2): 127–150. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(79)90030-2

Dinerstein, E. (1980). An ecological survey of the Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. Part III: Ungulate Populations. Biological Conservation 18(1): 5–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(80)90063-4

Durbin, L.S., A. Venkataraman, S. Hedges & W. Duckworth (2004). Dhole (Cuon alpinus), pp. 210–219. In: Sillero-Zubiri, C., M. Hoffmann & D.W. Macdonald (eds.). Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals and dogs. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/ SSC Canid Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

Ferreguetti, C.A., M.W. Tomas & G.H. Bergallo (2015). Density and niche segregation of two armadillo species (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) in the Vale Natural Reserve, Brazil. Mammalian Biology 81(2): 138–145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2015.10.007

Fox, M.W. (1984). The Whistling Hunters. Field Studies of the Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus). State University of New York Press, New York.

Grassman, J.R. (2005). Spatial ecology and diet of the dhole Cuon alpinus (Canidae,carnivore) in north central Thailand. Mammalia 69(1): 11–20. https://doi.org/10.1515/mamm.2005.002

Guisan, A. & N.E. Zimmermann (2000). Predictive habitat distribution models in ecology. Ecological Modelling 135(2–3): 147–186. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3800(00)00354-9

Halstead, B.J., G.D. Wylie & M.L. Casazza (2010). Habitat suitability and conservation of the giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas) in the Sacramento Valley of California. Copeia 2010(4): 591–599. https://doi.org/10.2307/40962955

Hayward, W.M., S. Lyngdoh & B. Habib (2014). Diet and prey preferences of the dhole Cuon alpinus: dietary competition within Asia’s apex predator guild. Journal of Zoology 294(4): 255–266. https://doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12171

Hines, J.E. (2006). PRESENCE-software to estimate patch occupancy and related parameters. https://www.mbr.pwrc.usgs.gov/software/presence.shtml.

Hines, J.E., J.D. Nichols & J.A. Collazo (2014). Multi season occupancy models for correlated replicate surveys. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5(6): 583–591. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12186

IUCN (2010). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. Downloaded on 26 December 2010.

Iyengar, A., V.N. Babu, S. Hedges, N.M. Venkataraman & P.A. Morin (2005). Phylogeography, genetic structure, and diversity in the dhole (Cuon alpinus). Molecular Ecology 14(8): 2281–2297. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02582.x

Jackson, R.M., J.D. Roe, R. Wangchuk & D.O. Hunter (2006). Estimating snow leopard population abundance using photography and capture-recapture techniques. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(3): 772–781. https://doi.org/10.2193/00917648(2006)34[772:ESLPAU]2.0.CO;2

Jenks, K.E., S. Kitamura, A.J. Lynam, D. Ngoprasert, W. Chutipong, R. Steinmetz, R. Sukmasuang, L.I. Grassman Jr., P. Cutter, N. Tantipisanuh, N. Bhumpakphan, G.A. Gale, D.H. Reed, P. Leimgruber & N. Songsasen (2012). Mapping the distribution of dholes, Cuon alpine (Canidae, Carnivora), in Thailand. Mammalian 76(2): 2011–2063. https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2011-0063

Jha, S.G. (2003). Linkages between Biological and Cultural Diversity for Participatory Management: Nepal’s experiences with Makalu-Barun National Park and Buffer Zone. Journal of National Science Foundation Sri Lanka 31(1–2): 41–56.

Johnsingh, A.J.T. (1983). Large Mammalian Prey-Predators in Bandipur. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 80(1): 1–57.

Johnsingh, A.J.T. (1985). Distribution and status of dhole Cuon alpinus Pallas, 1811 in South Asia. Mammalia 49(2): 203–208. https://doi.org/10.1515/mamm.1985.49.2.203

Kafley, H., E.M. Gompper, M. Sharma, B.R. Lamichhane & R. Maharjan (2016). Tigers (Panthera tigris) respond to fine spatial-scale habitat factors: occupancy-based habitat association of tigers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Journal of Wildlife Research 43(5): 398–410. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR16012

Kamler, J.F., N. Songsasen, K. Jenks, A. Srivathsa, L. Sheng & K. Kunkel (2015). Cuon alpinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015. Accessed on June 15, 2020. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T5953A72477893.en

Karanth, K.U. & M.E. Sunquist (1995). Prey selection by tiger, leopard and dhole in tropical forests. Journal of Animal Ecology 64(4): 439–450. https://doi.org/10.2307/5647

Karanth, K.U. & J.D. Nichols (1998). Estimation of tiger densities in India using photographic captures and recaptures. Ecology 79(8): 2852–2862. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(1998)079[2852:EOTDII]2.0.CO;2

Karanth, K.K., J.D. Nichols, J.E. Hines, K.U. Karanth & N.L. Christensen (2009). Patterns and determinants of mammal species occurrence in India. Journal of Applied Ecology 46(6): 1189–1200. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01710.x

Khatiwada, A.P. (2011). Status and Habitat Preference of DholeCuon alpinus in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area. M.Sc. Thesis, Tribhuvan University, Institute of Forestry, Pokhara, Nepal.

Lamichhane, B.R., C.P. Pokheral, S. Poudel, D. Adhikari, S. Giri, S. Bhattarai & N. Subedi (2018). Rapid recovery of tigers Panthera tigris in Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. Oryx 52(1): 16–24. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317000886

Law, B.S. & C.R. Dickman (1998). The use of habitat mosaics by terrestrial vertebrate fauna: implications for conservation and management. Biodiversity and Conservation 7(3): 323–333.

Lee, J.H., D. Park & H.C. Sung (2012). Large-scale habitat association modeling of the endangered Korean ratsnake (Elapheschrenckii). Zoological Science 29: 281–285.

Lekagul, B. & J. McNeely (1977). Mammals of Thailand. Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, 758 pp.

Lillesand, T.M., R.W. Kiefer & J.W. Chipman (2004). Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation. 5th Ed. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

MacKenzie, D.I. (2012). PRESENCE User Manual. Proteus Wildlife Research Consultants http://www.proteus.co.nz.

MacKenzie, D.I., J.D. Nichols, G.B. Lachman, S. Droege, J.A. Royle & C.A. Langtimm (2002). Estimating site occupancy rates when detection probabilities are less than one. Ecology 83(8): 2248–2255. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[2248:ESORWD]2.0.CO;2

MacKenzie, D.I., J.D. Nichols, J. Royle, K. Pollock, L. Bailey & J. Hines (2006). Occupancy estimation and modeling: inferring patterns and dynamics of species occurrence. Academic Press, New York.

Wolff, M., N. Ferreguetti, A.C. Tomas, W. Moraes & H.G. Bergallo (2019). Population density, activity pattern and habitat-use of the ocelot Leopardus pardalis in an Atlantic Forest protected area, southeastern Brazil. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 30(2): 120–125. https://doi.org/10.4404/hystrix-00214-2019

Massara, R.L., A.M.D.O. Paschoal, L. Bailey, Jr P. Doherty, A. Hirsch & A.G. Chiarello (2018). Factors influencing ocelot occupancy in Brazilian Atlantic Forest reserves. Biotropica 50(1): 125–134. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12481

McKay, G. & J. Eisenberg (1974). Movement patterns and habitat utilization of ungulates in Ceylon the behavior of ungulates and its relation to management. IUCN Publication, Morges.

Morris, D.W. (1987). Spatial scale and the cost of density-dependent habitat selection. Evolutionary Ecology 1(4): 379–388. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02071560

Phillips, S.J., M. Dudík & R.E. Schapire (2004). A maximum entropy approach to species distribution modeling, pp. 655–662. In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Machine Learning, ACM Press, New York

PNP (2020). https://parsanationalpark.gov.np/index.php/flora-fauna

Punjabi, G.A., A. Edgaonkar, A. Srivathsa, S. Ashtaputre & M.K. Rao (2017). Distribution of the dhole in its northern range limits in the WesternGhats, India. Canid Biology & Conservation 20(3): 7–13. https://www.canids.org/CBC/20/dhole_in_western_ghats.pdf.

Reddy, C.S., R. Yosef, G. Calvi & L. Fornasari (2019). Inter-specific competition influences apex predator-prey populations. Wildlife Research 46(7): 628–638. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR19011

Schaller, G.B. (1967). The Deer and the Tiger – A Study of Wildlife in India. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Shrestha, M. (2004). Relative ungulate abundance in fragmented landscape: implication for tiger conservation. PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota, St Paul..

Silver, S.C., L.E.T. Ostro, L.K. Marsh, L. Maffei, A.J. Loss, M.J. Kelly, R.B. Wallance, H. Gomez & G. Ayala (2004). The use of camera-trapss for estimating jaguar abundance and density using capture/recapture analysis. Oryx 38(2): 148–154. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605304000286

Smithers, R.H.N. (1983). The mammals of the southern African subregion. University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.

Srivathsa, A., K.K. Karanth, D. Jathanna, N.S. Kumar & K.U. Karanth (2014). On a Dhole trail: examining ecological and anthropogenic correlates of dhole habitat occupancy in the western ghats of India. PLoS ONE 9(6): e98803. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098803

Srivathsa, A., S.N. Kumar & K.U. Karanth (2017). Home range size of the dhole from camera-trap surveys. Canid Biology & Conservation 20(1): 1–4. https://www.canids.org/CBC/20/dhole_home_range.pdf.

Sunarto, S., M.J. Kelly, K. Parakkasi, S. Klenzendorf, E. Septayuda, H. Kurniawan (2012). Tigers need cover: multi-scale occupancy study of the big cat in Sumatran forest and plantation landscapes. PLoSONE7(1): e30859. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0030859.

Tempa, T., M. Hebblewhite, L.S. Mills, R. Tshewang, N. Norbu, T. Wangchuk, T. Nidup, P. Dendup, D. Wangchuk, Y. Wangdi & T. Dorji (2013). Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan: a hot spot for wild felids. Oryx 47(02): 207–210. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605312001317

Thapa, K. & M.J. Kelly (2016). Prey and tigers on the forgotten trail: high prey occupancy and tiger habitat-use reveal the importance of the understudied Churia habitat of Nepal. Biodiversity Conservation 26(3): 593–616. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-016-1260-1

Thapa, K., M.J. Kelly, J.B. Karki & N. Subedi (2013). First camera-traps record of pack hunting dholes in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Canid Biology & Conservation 16(2): 4–7.

The United States Geological Survey (2016). Science for a changing world. Retrieved from the United States Geological Survey website: Accessed on Aug 3, 2019. https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

Thorpe, E. & S. Thorpe (2019). Geography and Environmental Ecology. Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd., Uttar Pradesh, India.

Valkenburgh, V.B. (1991). Iterative evolution of hypercarnivory in canids (Mammalia: Carnivora): evolutionary interactions among sympatric predators. Paleobiology 17(4): 340–362.

Venkataraman, A.B., R. Arumugam & R. Sukumar (1995). The foraging ecology of Dholes (Cuon alpinus) in Mudumalai Sanctuary, southern India. Journal of Zoology 237(4): 543–561. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1995.tb05014.x

Wang, S.W. & D.W. Macdonald (2009). Feeding habits and niche partitioning in a predator guild composed of tigers, leopards and dholes in a temperate ecosystem in central Bhutan. Journal of Zoology 277(4): 275–283. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00537.x

Wegge, P., T. Storaas, M. Odden & S.R. Jnawali (2000). Ungulates in heterogenous landscapes: how spatialgradients affect tigers and their prey in lowland Nepal. In: Ecology and management of ungulates: integrating across spatial scales international conference, British Columbia, Canada, August 1999.

Wood, H.S. (1929). Observations on the wild dog. Journal of Bengal Natural History Society 4: 7–15.

Yadav, S.K., B.R. Lamichhane, N. Subedi, R.K. Thapa, L.P. Poudyal & B.R. Dahal (2019). Dhole Cuon alpinus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Canidae) rediscovered in Bardia National Park, Nepal. Journal of Threatened Taxa 11(12): 14582–4586. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4714.11.12.14582-14586

Most read articles by the same author(s)