This species is generally associated with undisturbed habitats, is nowhere abundant and occurs at very low densities. The precise limits of its distribution range are not known, but the population currently is estimated to number fewer than 15,000 mature individuals, and is thought likely to experience a continuing decline nearing 10% over the coming decade largely as a result of ongoing habitat loss and degradation. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion C.
Population trend: Declining
Habitat and Ecology: The Short-eared Dog favours undisturbed rainforest in the Amazonian lowlands. The species has been recorded in a wide variety of lowland habitats, including terra firme forest, swamp forest, stands of bamboo, and primary succession along rivers (M.R.P. Leite, unpubl.). At Cocha Cashu, sightings and tracks of the species are strongly associated with rivers and creeks, and there are five reliable reports of short-eared dogs swimming in rivers. Records are very rare in areas with significant human disturbance, i.e., near towns or in agricultural areas. It is unclear whether the short-eared dog is able to utilize habitats outside wet lowland forests. One sighting in Rondonia, Brazil, was in lowland forest bordering savanna (M. Messias pers. comm.). Another, at the highest elevation yet documented for the species, was at 1,200 m in the Ecuadorean Andes, in a transitional zone between lowland forest and cloud forest (Pitman et al. 2002). Two specimens collected in 1930 are allegedly from even higher elevations in the same region – above 2,000 m on Volcan Pichincha and Antisana (near Quito) – but the absence of any other reports from these well-studied areas leads assessors to believe that these represent mislabelled specimens.
A more detailed summary of the biology and conservation status of this species from the CSG's Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs - 2004 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan) is available on-line here.
Short-eared Dog - © Pitman and Swarmer
(for more photos of this and other wild canid species, see the Flickr group: Field Guide: Wild Canids of the World)
English: short-eared fox, small-eared dog, small-eared zorro; French: renard à petites oreilles; Portuguese: cachorro-do-mato-de-orelhas-curtas; Spanish: perro de monte, perro de orejas cortas, zorro negro, zorro ojizarco; Indigenous names: Ayo reo: divequena; Chiquitano: nomensarixi; Guayaro: cuachi yaguar; More: quinamco; Niman, Moseten: achuj jhirith; Siriono: ecojoix; Tsimane: achuj foij (Bolivia); Kaiabi: awari (Brazil); Yucana: uálaca; Huitoto: urúbui; Yebá masá o Barasana: búyaíro.