Home Range Size, Habitat Use, and Prey Selection of Dhole (Cuon alpinus) in the Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
Khwanrutai Charaspet, Ronglarp Sukmasuang, Noraset Khoewsree, Nucharin Songsasen, Jitdapa Thongbanthum, Pornpimol Kubsanit, Mananya Pala-ard, and Khanchit Srinopawan
Study of the size of the species home range and habitat use is essential in understanding the ecology, natural history of species for effective management, dhole is the endangered species of the world and Khao Yai National Park is the most important habitat.The study of dhole with satellite signals in the area has never been conducted. Size of home range and habitat use of dhole in the Khao Yai National Park were collected from January through December 2017. Two adult female dholes were captured and tagged with satellite radio collars on January 31, 2017 and February 7, 2017, respectively. Using a satellite monitoring system, the first dhole was monitored for 70 days in 179 telemetry locations and the second dhole was monitored for 123 days in 260 telemetry locations. It was found that the home range of the first dhole (95% of all the locations) was near its center with a home range size of 76.97 km2. The second adult female dhole had a home range size (95% of all the locations) of 27.65 km2. The first dhole had an average daily movement of 2,390.19 meters and the average daily movement of the second dhole was 2,754.38 meters. The collared dholes used grassland habitat significantly more than dry evergreen forest. Based on the scats of 52 dholes, seven prey species were identified using scat analysis. These were the red muntjak (Muntiacus munjak), sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), wild boar or Eurasian wild pig (Sus scrofa), masked palm civet (Paguma larvata), large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha), common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphrodites), and lesser mouse deer (Tragulus kanchil). The percentage occurrence of the prey species was the highest for red muntjak (41.31%), followed by sambar deer (28.85%), Eurasian wild pig (15.38%), masked palm civet (7.69%), large Indian civet (1.92%), common palm civet (1.92%), and lesser mouse deer (1.92%). The relative abundance of dhole was 3.73%. The relative abundance of red muntjak was 15.90% followed by Eurasian wild pig (14.41%), pig tailed macaque (9.29%), sambar deer (6.71%), and porcupine (5.76%), respectively. The number individual animals that a dhole consumed within the year was 14.32. Most of them (84.56%) were from the ungulate species. Biomass of the prey consumed by a dhole per year in the area was 120.85 kg, out of which 95.44% were ungulate species. We recommended that dhole population and population of their prey should be monitored continuously. Grassland habitat should be improved to promote the ungulate species which are the main prey consumed by the dhole, especially in areas far from roads and human activity.