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The Case of the Dog that didn’t bark

Dhole, Kabini -

It could be an affirmation of the old adage that barking dogs never bite, for the Dhole, or wild dogs of Kabini, are examples of the converse being true, and are never known to bark. But then, why would one want to bark when you have over five caller tunes to stay in touch? The most distinctive is a tuneful whistling (which, by the way, is not only when well proportioned females saunter by), but also includes growls, chuckles, screams and hisses to break the monotony. Musical abilities apart, these whistlers of the woods also have something our Bollywood heroes would die for. In these days of six and eight pack bodies being routinely flaunted on glossies and TV screens, it isn’t unusual to see Dholes with twelve pack bodies. In fact it’s the pack that is the strength of this lean, mean killing machine, and everything they do is as a single, cohesive body. ‘One for all; all for one’, is the philosophy they live by; one that serves them well to bring down a much larger Gaur, or even put an errant leopard or tiger in its rightful place. This team ethic is, however, not restricted to combat alone. A selfless attitude towards the group’s welfare sees Dholes choosing a single mating pair, to ensure a more successful breeding. The others chip in by doing sentry duty, playing nanny, or fetching food for the newborn. This sense of community is what makes the Dholes not just the pre-eminent predator, but also the most swinging social club in the biosphere. While these dogs may not sit, heel, or fetch the paper, the Dhole of Kabini, can certainly teach our management gurus a thing or two about setting organizational goals and achieving them through team effort. And, no, we’re not barking up the wrong tree.

Photograph: Jayanth Sharma Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



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