HOPE report

Number: 23-005

Communication in dholes (Cuon alpinus), especially functions of their call types

Report: SAWAGURI Shuta

Date: 2011/8/18 - 2011/12/21

The dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a canid species hunting in packs, living in India, Southeast Asia and China. Dholes have been reported to produce many types of calls in several situations both in wild and captivity and probably communicate using these calls. However, the function(s) of each call type is not well known yet. In order to estimate the functions, I visited Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) in Vandalur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu state (from late August to early September), and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu state (from September 17 to December 19). In AAZP, there were seven individuals (♂2, ♀5) when I visited there last year and four pups (♂1, ♀3) were born in last January, but two of the pups (♂1, ♀1) died. There were hence nine individuals (♂2, ♀7). I recorded the behavior and calls of a group of three females and a pair. In MTR, I searched some areas for dholes with a tracker in the morning and evening according to the latest sighting reports (total 81days, 426 hrs 19 min) and recorded the behavior and calls of them until they disappeared when I found them (total 2 hrs 7 min). I observed the wild dogs 20 times during the research period. I mostly encountered with the Masinagudi Pack, which had four dogs during this research, whereas it consisted of more than twenty individuals including pups last year. I recorded four call types named yap, squeak, yap-squeak and whistle. The numbers of the categorized calls and behavior were 13 and about 100 respectively. I am writing a master thesis based on these data.

A wary dhole trotting nearby

A solitary dhole rubbing the right side of its neck against the road

At a dhole den site in Sigur Reserved Forest

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