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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Cuon alpinus
Species class: 
Population Trend: 
Quick Facts

Lifespan: 10 years in the wild,  andup to 17 years in captivity

Size: 80-100cms

Weight: 15-20kgs

Collective Noun: Pack

Fun Facts

Family:  Dholes live in extended family packs of up to 12, headed by a dominant breeding male and female. They are cooperative breeders, with most family members helping to raise the young. Often, there are more males in the pack than females.

Own Genus: Dholes are classified in their own genus. This is because they do not fit into any of the similar families, such as foxes or wolves.

Whistle! Dholes are known as ‘whistling hunters’ due to their characteristic whistle. They can produce over 20 different sounds.

Pack Hunters: Dhole are pack hunters, with 2-3 dhole able to bring down an animal up to ten times their size (ie deer) in as little as 2 minutes. They are fast runners and have great stamina. Like tigers, dholes may chase their prey into water, slowing them down before they attack.

Dholes are able to jump 2.3m high!

Photo by Bobby Jo Clow.

Also known as the Indian Wild Dog, Dholes are an endangered canid native to South-East Asia and Indochina.

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we have two Dholes, a female named Tunlay (DOB: 24/01/01) and a male namd Jangala (DOB 20/07/07). They are a non-breeding pair. 

Jangala was hand raised by keepers Louise Ginman and Justine Powell in 2007 after labour complications meant that his mother Tunlay had to have a caesarean. He is very interactive with his keepers due to his upbringing, and loves getting all sorts of enrichment items to play with, especially cardboard boxes. Jangala is very outgoing, and often pushes mum out of the way to see what’s going on outside their exhibit.  Tunlay is a very reserved animal, and it takes a while to gain her trust. Her name means ‘river’ in Cambodian and she came to Taronga from a wildlife reserve in Cambodia.

Dholes in the wild live and hunt in packs so Tunlay and Jangala are always found together, whether they are resting in their nest box or guarding their exhibit perimeters.They both love enrichment- their favourites are any type of ball or toy, cardboard boxes, pilchard iceblocks and Whiskas cat food (although they tend to roll in the Whiskas rather than eat it!).

Taronga is currently the only conservation institution in Australia with Dholes.

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