The Minnesota Zoo celebrated the New Year with the arrival of a rare new species: endangered Asian wild dogs, otherwise known as “dholes.” Dholes (pronounced dōls), a primitive canine species, are very social pack animals. Highly adaptable, they live in diverse habitats in Thailand, Russia, China, and India in areas with plenty of prey, water and suitable den sites. Exclusive carnivores, dholes eat mostly small to medium-sized deer and wild boar. Often hunting in thick brush and forests, they rely on their keen sense of smell to find prey.
With less than 2,500 in the wild, dholes are an endangered species. Due to rapid human population growth in Asia, their major threats include habitat loss, lack of prey, and disease from domestic and feral dogs. The Minnesota Zoo supports dhole conservation by working with partners in Thailand.
The exhibit officially opened to the public on Friday, December 30.