Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservation of the endangered dhole in India, according to a new study.
Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, the University of Florida, the Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences found that these three States were adequately equipped to maintain their high ranks in consolidating forest habitats and recover dhole populations by increasing prey density and reducing the pressure on forests.
On the other hand, the study said, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana and Goa will need to increase financial investments in the forest and wildlife sectors, and reduce the ease of granting forest clearances for infrastructure projects.
It also found that improving habitat conditions and prey densities in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha would strengthen the link between dhole populations in the Western Ghats and central India.
The paper titled A strategic road map for conserving the endangered dhole Cuon alpinus in India, was published recently in Mammal Review.
Through the study, the scientists explored the conservation tenets of retention, recovery and restoration of dholes in India, said to be a global stronghold for the species, in the context of large carnivores facing high extinction risk.
Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems. Besides the tiger, the dhole is the only large carnivore in India that is under the International Union for Conservation of Natures endangered category. As a country that perhaps supports the highest number of dholes in the world, we still do not have targeted management plans for scientific monitoring of the species.
Our study recognises taluks and States that need to be prioritised, and thereby offers a primer for designing a country-level plan to conserve their populations, Arjun Srivathsa, lead author of the study, was quoted as saying in the release.