Where to see wild dogs in India and best time of year
India wildlife: Where to see Wild Dogs in India and best time of year?
The Hindi name for wild dogs is Dhole and this charismatic and social canid is one of the most exciting predators to encounter in Indias national parks. Often see in small to medium size packs, they are see all year round from October to June, especially in national parks and tiger sanctuaries in central and southern India. It is a fact that fewer visitors on an Indian wildlife tour will see wild dogs compared to tigers, so a sightings should be viewed as lucky and incredibly exciting.
Where to find wild dogs in India?
Although once present in most regions of India, their range has shrunk due to habitat loss, decline in their prey species and the inevitable human-animal conflicts which arise when so many of India's wildlife sanctuaries are surrounded by villages with substantial livestock populations; many of which freely enter the park and therefore will fall victim to wild dog attacks. A few of India's premier tiger sanctuaries have conserved the Dhole's preferred habitat of open woodland and grassy meadow; where prey species such as spotted deer and sambar graze.
Best national parks to see wild dogs in India?
Some of the largest packs of wild dogs can be seen in Bandipur and Nagaerhole tiger sanctuaries; both located in Karnataka state in southern India. Both ourselves and our clients have enjoyed spectacular sightings of Dhole in Bandhavgarh (on a kill), Kanha, Pench, Tadoba and most recently in Nagzira in June 2014 when we observed 14 wild dogs in this small but beautiful national park near Kanha and Tadoba. In this part of central India the packs of wild dogs can still migrate from park to park via small but intact forest corridors, which can lead to the loss of packs in one of the sanctuaries, when they move into another.
Best time of year to see wild dogs in India?
There is not such a strong connection with the hotter months in India's wildlife sanctuaries and increased sightings when compared to tigers. In addition, they are more comfortable moving through the forest even in the late morning or mid-afternoon (at the start of a tiger safari); so if you are in the right park and their territory your chances are quite high of a sightings. They can almost seem curious of a jeep and its occupants, giving you a chance to observe their whistles and other vocalisations used to indicate the start of a hunt or reassure younger members of the pack.
What do wild dogs eat?
Wild dogs hunt in packs ranging in size from three to twenty plus and are infamous for their habit of eating prey while still alive; which may seem savage to us humans, but serves an important function of obtaining food as fast as possible before other predators arrive on the scene. As stated earlier we have witnessed this behaviour in Bandhavgarh with spotted deer, but they will also eat most herbivores, including prey as large as young Indian Bison (Gaur) and Blue Bull (Nilgai).
Why not visit one of the above mentioned parks and have a chance to see Indian wild dogs for yourself on one of our classic India wildlife tours to Kanha and Nagzira.
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