August 13, 2020
A Dhole New World
- as seen by -Brent Atkinson
One of our Bronx Zoo educators made a pun saying it’s a “A Dhole New World” (as in the song “A Whole New World”). As I was putting the dholes (Cuon alpinus), among the newest additions to our zoo family, on exhibit during our temporary closure, I realized it was a “Dhole New World”. During the closing that lasted over 120 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our animals seemed to wonder where our guests had gone.
Now that we’ve reopened, it truly is a “Dhole New World”.
Dholes (pronounced “doles”) are a wild dog species from Asia. There are six subspecies of dholes ranging from India, China, and Indonesia. Our dholes are Chinese dholes, a beautiful-looking and social subspecies. In the wild, dholes can form packs up to 40 individuals. A dhole pack can be very strong. It can steal a kill from a tiger or take down a 1,500 pound gaur. Dholes are agile and can leap vertically up to seven feet. They maintain high endurance to chase down tired prey and are excellent swimmers. Dholes are also called “whistling dog” communicating among themselves using a series of whistles, clicks, yips, and growls.
Come to the zoo and see our dholes. And you might even hear them yourself.