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Ambassadors Programme

Explorer

Tom Svensson

Nov28

In search of the dhole: a reward worth waiting for

By Tom Svensson, Friday November 28, 2014
Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens fitted with both an EF2x and EF1.4x Extender, to give a combined focal length of 1400mm; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/8, ISO 1600.

Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens fitted with both an EF2x and EF1.4x Extender, to give a combined focal length of 1400mm; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/8, ISO 1600. © Tom Svensson

Dholes (Cuon alpinus) are a very rare breed of wild dog. In fact they one of the most endangered wild dogs in the world, with less than 2,000 left in India. They are small animals – measuring between 88-113cm long from the snout to the base of the tail, with the tail averaging about 45cm in length. Their shoulder height is around 42-55cm and they weigh around 10-25kg depending on age and sex.

They live in clans numbering from about 5-15 but there have been reports of up to 40. They have been on my dream list for many years now, and on a recent trip to India I had luck on my side and managed to see them. The joy I felt when being around them was fantastic!

Dholes will fight tigers and leopards for food – they may be small but they are very tough animals. Wild dogs have a much greater hunting success – about 80 percent compared to tigers that only have about a 20 percent kill average.

The dhole is a wonderful and beautiful animal, but also very hard to photograph. I pushed my equipment to the max by combining both my EF2x and EF1.4x Extenders with my EF500mm super-telephoto to give me a focal length of 1400mm to get close enough! It was worth it though...

Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens fitted with both an EF2x and EF1.4x Extender, to give a combined focal length of 1400mm; the exposure was 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 1600.

Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens fitted with both an EF2x and EF1.4x Extender, to give a combined focal length of 1400mm; the exposure was 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 1600. © Tom Svensson

The lonely monkey in the forest. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/6.3, ISO 400.

The lonely monkey in the forest. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/6.3, ISO 400. © Tom Svensson