Hello and welcome everyone to my latest blog. I hope you have all had a good weekend and are suitably refreshed and ready for the start of a new week. This week I recommend some reading material which you may enjoy as well as highlighting the case of the Dhole the focus of my endangered species section. So as always I hope you enjoy reading it!
After recently re reading Peter Allison's How To Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling Through South America I felt suitably inspired. A fascinating and entertaining book on his adventures travelling through South America for 18 months, needless to say his experiences walking a half wild Puma are very entertaining! There is plenty more to the book than this however and I thoroughly recommend reading it for yourself.
Equally Brilliant are his other books Don't run, Whatever You Do: My Adventures as a Safari Guide and Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide. These are based on his time working out in Africa as a guide and are equally worth a read.
Also well worth a read are the books from the sadly recently passed Lawrence Anthony. His work in conservation in his homeland of South Africa his brave and instrumental work in rescuing Baghdad zoo and again showing unbelievable bravery to face rebel leaders in the Congo to fight against the illegal trade of Rhino horns.
The titles for these books are as follows: The Last Rhinos: The Powerful Story of One Man's Battle to Save a Species.
The Elephant Whisperer: Learning About Life, Loyalty and Freedom From a Remarkable Herd of Elephants.
Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.
The fight for survival of the Dhole.
The Dhole may not be as well known and receive less publicity than other members of the canine family such as the African Hunting Dog but this does not mean the threat of extinction for this species is any less real, classified by the IUCN as endangered the species is in serious trouble. Living in the forest and mountainous areas habitats with its highest densities in population thought to be in central and southern India. The Dhole roughly the size of a Border Collie, hunts in packs of up to forty and is an efficient predator, taking prey up to the size of a Banteng a large bovid and have the courage to take on prey which could inflict serious injury such as Wild Boar. Reaching sexual maturity at a year old, litter size can be up to twelve pups with the breeding season lasting from November to April the gestation period lasting roughly sixty three days.
So what are the reasons this charismatic species is in such trouble? As you may already of guessed man has and continues to inflict serious trouble on an already declining species. Habitat destruction has been enormous and the range of the Dholes distribution has been reduced to just a tiny fraction of what it once was. Pressure for more land to develop agriculture as well as persistent logging, dam construction and the demand for firewood have all contributed towards the current predicament facing the Dhole. On top of this the large amount of poaching of prey species in the few remaining suitable areas of Dhole habitat continue to increase an already dire situation.
Human persecution is another reason why the populations are now so critically small. For a long time seen as vermin they were trapped, shot and poisoned and up until as recently as 1972 in India people were rewarded with money for every individual killed. This quote from a Pythian-Adams in 1949 who unbelievably called himself a naturalist shows an example of then attitudes towards the species "Except for his handsome appearance, the wild dog has not a single redeeming feature, and no effort, fair or foul, should be spared to destroy these pests of the jungle". Even today attitudes have not improved to dramatically as a result of continually encroaching agriculture of Dhole habitat, livestock is occasionally taken and inevitably this leads to a retaliation resulting poorly for the Dhole.
What is being done to help the species? In 1972 the Dhole was declared a protected species and there are now surveys people who have recently seen Dholes are asked to fill in answering questions on vital information with the aim of the results leading to a thorough conservation effort to protect the species.
These are steps in the right direction but serious help to the species needs to be given if we do not want to one day lose them forever.
You can read more about Dholes by following the link http://www.cuon.net/dholes/
Well, that's all from me for this week I hope you enjoyed it and have a good week!