Can wild dogs kill a tiger?

Wild dogs in India are called 'dholes'. Their scientific name is Cuon alpinus. A pack of wild dogs can kill an individual tiger. There are records of it. Before I describe a fight between a tigress and a pack of dholes, I should tell you that the Indian wild dog is endangered and according to my research there are no more than 2,500 Indian, adult wild dogs left on the planet.

Indian wild dogs 'dholes'
Indian wild dogs 'dholes'. Image in public domain.

This simple fact must reduce any encounters between a group of wild dogs and an individual tiger in India. Therefore, it is a little bit self-indulgent really to discuss and analyse the killing of a tiger by a band of wild dogs, but I will do so to satisfy the curiosity of any reader.

Kenneth Anderson witnessed and described a battle between a pack of wild dogs and a tigress which took place near Mysore in southern India.

His account is described in his book: Nine maneaters and one rogue published in New York by EP Dutton and Co in 1955.

Here is his description:

"The dogs had spread themselves around the tigress, who was growling ferociously. Every now and again one would dash in from behind to bite her. 

She would then turn to attempt to rend asunder this puny aggressor, when a couple of others would rush in from another direction. 

In this way she was kept going continually, and I could see she was fast becoming spent. All this time the dogs were making a tremendous noise, the reason for which I soon came to know, when, in a lull in the fray, I heard the whistling cry of the main pack.

The tigress must have also heard the sound, for in a sudden, renewed fury, she charged two of the dogs, one of which she caught a tremendous blow on its back with her paw, cracking its spine with the sharp report of a broken twig.

The other just managed to leap out of danger. The tigress then followed up her momentary advantage by bounding away, to be immediately followed by the five remaining dogs.

They were just out of sight when the main packs streamed by, in which I counted twenty-three dogs, as they galloped past me without the slightest interest in my presence."

The next day Anderson sent his trackers to investigate how the chase had panned out. The dogs had cornered the tigress about 5 miles away and torn her to pieces. The tigress had killed five of the dogs in the final fight.

Conclusion: a large pack of wild dogs can kill an individual tiger or tigress. That is the moral of the story. But the bigger moral of this story is that the wild dog in India is dying out, becoming extinct. 

The tiger in India is also suffering the same fate but their population has been somewhat stable at about 3,500 mature individuals for many years but there is increased pressure on their existence as a human population of India grows relentlessly with associated human activity including the inevitable businesses, human settlements, factories, mining, deforestation and all other activities which gradually kill off the tiger. 

Although in India they are now almost exclusively found in reserves where they are of course protected. However, the protection is often not enough because poachers kill them for their body parts. These are shipped out of the country eastwards to the Asian tiger body part market.


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