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Dietary preference of the Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus)

Abstract

The population of the Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) in the wild has been estimated to be less than 2500 mature individuals. This has led to the IUCN assessing the Asiatic wild dog as Endangered. The killing of Asiatic wild dogs in retaliation for livestock depredation is one of the major threat for the species across its geographic range. Understanding the prey preference of endangered large carnivores is imperative for making informed conservation decisions and devising management strategies. We studied the prey preference of the Asiatic wild dog by reviewing studies that have been conducted on the diet and prey abundance of the species across its distributional range. Nine available studies conducted in eight protected areas of three countries, in which 5265 scats were studied, were reviewed. Across studies, we tested whether prey consumption was based on prey availability or prey body mass. The value of Jacobs’ index was determined for each prey species and tested against the proportion of available prey and body mass. Sambar (Rusa unicolor) and chital (Axis axis) were found to be significantly preferred by the Asiatic wild dog, and the preferred prey body mass range was between 40 and 60 kg. The prey preference of the Asiatic wild dog was mainly influenced by the availability of prey.

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Correspondence to Gopi Govindan Veeraswami.

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Selvan, K.M., Veeraswami, G.G. & Hussain, S.A. Dietary preference of the Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus). Mamm Biol 78, 486–489 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2013.08.007

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Keywords

  • Prey preference
  • Asiatic wild dog
  • Body mass
  • Jacobs’ index