Understanding Carnivore Community Ecology to Reduce Dhole Predation of Livestock in Bhutan

Timeframe: 2021 – 2023
Country/Region: Bhutan
Partner: Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN)

Dholes or Asiatic wild dogs can be found in eastern and southern Asia and are among the least-studied large carnivores in the world. The wild population is estimated to be less than 3’000 individuals globally. Despite its “Endangered” status, the species distribution and population status are still not well-known, including in Bhutan where no current population estimate exists. Dhole are primarily threatened by habitat loss, depletion of their prey base, human persecution and retaliatory killings. In Bhutan, dholes are reported amongst the top predators killing livestock, causing economic distress to local farmers and generating human-wildlife conflict issues.

Fondation Segré partnered with the Royal Society for Protection of Nature and the Nature Conservation Division of the Government of Bhutan, to implement effective conservation strategies for this threatened species including putting in place measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Through the project, the partners are also expected to produce a comprehensive assessment of the community ecology of dholes and to complete an analysis of the socio-economic status and perception assessment of communities living in close proximity with dholes.

Priority actions implemented include:

  • Refine existing information on distribution, habitat use and community carnivore ecology of dholes in Bhutan.
  • Institute and train community stewards tasked with Dhole conservation.
  • Enhance dhole prey base and strengthen dhole conservation surveillance.