The mysteries of the Dhole

Originating from East Asia, the Asian Wild Dog otherwise known as the dhole is one of the most mysterious breeds of canines within the wild. Over the centuries the dhole has faced scrutiny and prejudice, much like their close relatives, the wolves. However as we begin to learn more about them, their social structures and their behaviours, the myths start to shatter, and the truth comes to light.

Little is written about the dhole, or Cuon Alpinus, as there have only ever been a few sightings that have been recorded. The average size of the dhole is 90cm in length and having a shoulder height of around 50 cm, they resemble the size of a typical domestic Border Collie dog. Their bodies, other than the underside and chest are covered with rustic fur, which blends into the forest surroundings making it even harder to spot. With markings so unique to this canine, it ‘s hard to separate them from the 3 subspecies, which are all similar is size and appearance.

However, when the wild dogs have been spotted, it has been recorded that they are very sociable animals living in small packs of 6 to 10, while some packs can reach up to the size of 40 or even more.

The sizes of the packs depend on what food is available and how their habitat is faring. It has been logged that unlike their wolves, these canine’s packs will let the young cubs eat first when it comes to a kill and not leave them to last like wolves are known to do. Dholes are noted for their unusual communication skills, as they converse via high pitch yelps that are often said to be like a bird whistle.

The species can thrive in many different environments, from forests, savannahs to jungles; to any habitat, the dholes can hunt food. But the more frequent sightings have been in Asia. The various of hunting grounds provide different prey, from scavenging berries and grubs to hunting rabbits, lizards and animals considerably larger than themselves, such as deer, wild goats, sheep, gaur (the Indian bison) and banteng (the wild cattle that roams within Asia).

Hunting is a time when the family unit is at their strongest. Sometimes the hunt will include most of the family when tackling large prey. But if the prey is smaller the canine has been known to hunt in twos or go alone.

Techniques used in pursuit of the prey have shown the pack opts for splitting into groups while chasing their target. One group will chase the animal, while the next group will head the animal off by running a different route, then jump out once the prey runs by.

Unlike many wild canines, the dhole does not grab the thoat they are acknowledged for running with the animal, biting and ripping flesh, until the prey can no longer stand causing it to fall and then be devoured alive by the pack.

Being the small size they are, it would be understandable to believe that the dhole has a lot of natural enemies, but it is, in fact, the opposite. Reports state that packs have killed tigers. However much research is still needed to determine whether this statement is more myth that fact, as scientists have found the dhole to be part of a leopard’s diet, which are considerably smaller than the tiger.

Although they are known for living in the forest of China and Indian, the dhole is also native to many other countries; Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and more. Unfortunately, as these countries become more popularised by humans, much of the dogs’ original homelands are lost, causing them to expand their territory, leading to conflict with civilisation.

As the destruction of their native home continues, they begin to lose their prey and hunt what is available, normally livestock. This is turn provokes humans to poison the leftover carcas, or leave traps in hope to kill the wild dog and project their cattle.

Other threats contributing to the loss of the species are domestic dogs living in the towns, cities and forest. The feral dogs bring diseases such as rabies and mange that the dhole has no natural immunity to, sometimes resulting in the decimation of an entire pack. These threats continue to kill many individuals making them, now endangered as released by the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) in 2015.

Although conservationists are working hard to save the dhole from extinction, the public can also work towards making a change to the species. One way to make a difference is by buying sustainable palm oil.Along with providing awareness about the dhole and the life it lives. Although these are small acts, it could be the beginning of saving one of Asia’s last carnivores, replenishing the species.

Cover image by Wildlife Alliance –

How to deal with toxic people.

I wrote this a while ago, for a website but it never got published so here it is.

How to deal with toxic people.

Toxic people have a habit of coming into your life and not leaving, whether it is an unresolvable situation or you just can’t get them out. But how can you keep your head and deal with it?

It is very normal to come into contact with people that you don’t quite have a great repeal with, and most of the time you can cut them out of your life, easy peasy they’re gone. But there is always that one person who you think is just going to be in and out of your life but they don’t. Sometimes you work with them, and unless you plan to leave your job, you will be with them a lot more.

Toxic people can pollute your thoughts and effect your day causing you to become tired as you waste all your energy trying to tip toe around them and in some cases it can make you feel bad about yourself, and no one needs that. Below are a few ways to deal with toxic people while having to spend time in their presence.

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The tips

First, know the signs:
On certain occasions, it can be difficult to see that you are in a relationship with a toxic person. Know the signs, so you can at best, distances and prepare yourself for their negative energy. A classic sign that you are dealing with a toxic person is that they are selfish. Now some types of selfishness can be useful, but toxic people go above and beyond, only see their needs within every situation.

They are not nice! They never have a kind word to say about anyone, and they constantly try to put you down, control you and try to out do you in everything. ‘You went away for the weekend; well I went away for a 5 star Paris trip.’ Really!

And the most famous sign is that they make you feel bad about yourself.

Don’t let yourself be controlled:
When an overbearing person tries to control you, sometimes it is only natural to let it happen because you don’t want the hassle. Stop. It is time to get back into control of your life, but here is how to do it without causing an issue. It is okay to say No.

‘We’re going to lunch here.’
‘Sorry no, I would like to go there.’

People hate the word no, as it sounds negative but in this case, when you always find yourself doing what the toxic person wants politely say no and suggest something that you would like to do. If they disagree, you can say thank you for their offer, but I am going where I want to. And offer them to come with you. If they decline, politely say, I will see you later and head in your direction.

This can be used in various situations; as long as you are polite, there should be no friction.

When they believe they are right:
When someone always believes they are right even when they are clearly wrong, it can be frustrating and get to you a lot. But does it matter?

Is it anything to do with you? If no, then way try to change their opinion? It will cause you to use too much energy trying to get your point across and even if you do, it would have probably caused an argument, and there just isn’t a need for it. Other people know there wrong, you are aware of they are wrong, so just leave them to be wrong. It doesn’t matter.

Let the energy talk for itself:
Most people can tell the difference between negative or positive energy within a situation. If someone near you makes you feel good and happy, then they are good for you, but if they make you feel upset and tired, they are draining you of your positive energy. Try and spend as little time as possible with those that drag you down.

Do what makes you happy:
Trying to make everyone happy isn’t your job. Your job is to ensure you’re happy. Toxic people can make you feel guilty if you don’t do something that will make them positive.

However doing something that makes someone happy can be great and sometimes it is worth it. But when it is constant, and you find it a strain?  It is time to put your happiness first. This is one of the key points to dealing with a toxic person.

Keep the relaxation an essential part of your day.
One of the most important tips to deal with toxic people is to take time out for you. Make time every day whether it’s 10 minutes or even an hour, that time is yours do whatever you like. Don’t let anyone take it away from you. The chance to relax away from the toxic energy is a perfect opportunity to distress after the minefields you have avoided during the day.

Occasionally you are lucky enough to be able to cut those toxic people straight out of your life. However, there is a higher chance you can’t. If you have experienced a toxic person in your life comment below on how you dealt with them and helped more people to make the best out of a bad situation.