A Dogged Problem

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Free-ranging dogs are unfavourable to wildlife, they are reservoirs of many diseases.

The word carnivore often conjures up images of large, dangerous predators such as lions and tigers. Few, however, realize that they spend most of their lives in the presence of the world’s most common carnivore — the domestic dog. Man’s so-called best friend is indeed the most numerous and widespread of the world’s carnivores.

In much of the developed world, dogs are generally confined to certain areas, but … Read More

Hybridisation Threat in the Himalaya

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The Himalayan wolf was only recently distinguished as the oldest lineage within Canis lupus, yet little is known about its ecology, distribution and behavior. In Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh, the wolf population was last estimated in 1995 at 350 individuals, and is listed as protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. Due to human-induced pressures, this incredibly unique wolf lineage faces a variety of threats. Additionally, feral dogs have been known to endanger wild canid populations through … Read More

Elephants near Human Settlements

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This was photographed in the backwaters of the Kabini River in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Across the river, just outside the reserve (Gendathur side of Bandipur Tiger Reserve), there are a lot of human settlements. Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT) protecting this area do little to stop the herds. Elephants easily swim across from the Nagarahole side to graze on grass on the Bandipur side, bringing them into frequent conflicts with humans. Cattle grazing occurs near the human settlements in the morning, … Read More

Dog chasing Sambhar, Kudremukh National Park

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This is an image I took of domestic dogs chasing a sambhar fawn in Singsara river in Kudremukh National Park.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that India alone is home to 25-30 million domestic dogs. When such high numbers of dogs include even a small amount of wildlife in their diet, collectively they can have a serious impact.

Dogs also harbour several diseases that can be deadly not only to humans (such as rabies) but to wild carnivore species … Read More

Disease is Not the Most Urgent Threat to Wild Tigers

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Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), a common disease among millions of street dogs in India, has infected wild tigers in some parts of the country, as reported in the media (CTV News, Salon.com). Given that conservation resources are limited, how should we treat this ‘outbreak’?

In the Western Ghats, where I have worked as a tiger researcher for the past 25 years (and been a conservationist for 50+ years), diseases such as distemper, mange, anthrax, foot and mouth … Read More

Feral Dogs Bringing Down a Nilgai (Bluebull), Gujarat

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I had gone on a routine birding trip to Gandhinagar, Gujarat in Nov 2011. We were surprised to find around five feral dogs attacking an adult Nilgai or bluebull (Boselaphus tragocamelus) when it came near a water body to drink water. By the time I saw them they had almost killed the antelope, and 15 more dogs were waiting on the shore for their share. I have seen dogs feeding from a bluebull carcass earlier so they must … Read More

Stray Dog Chasing Blackbuck

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Here is an image of a stray dog chasing a herd of Blackbuck in the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve (formerly Maidenahalli). There were at-least 5 or 6 more dogs chasing the bucks, in a very organized fashion (not unlike dholes). This is a serious threat, as the fawns are easy targets for these dogs.

The reason these dogs enter the sanctuary is unchecked tourism. Often, tourists from nearby villages picnic inside the reserve and leave behind food, thus attracting dogs. … Read More

Village Dogs and Indian Gaur, Nagarahole

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Every year, the backwaters of the Kabini river recede in summer, allowing a lush carpet of grassy meadows to develop. It kickstarts game movement, as animals head towards the water and and also enjoy the lush grazing grounds. The general scarcity of water attracts not only elephants from neighboring ranges, but also herds of gaur and sadly, humans too. This forest, like many others, has tribal settlements on the periphery. The further the water recedes, the deeper the humans intrude. … Read More

Village Dogs Hunting Chital, Nagarahole

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The backwaters of Kabini in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve  is subjected to chases, kills and predation by stray dogs alleged pets of the tribals who live and work near the Balle part of the national park. On two occasions, I noticed up to three dogs chase spotted deer over long distances. One such chase was nearly for a kilometre though the deer managed to maintain the distance as they vanished in to the woods.

In India most wildlife reserves have large … Read More

Dog Hunting Chital in Kabini, Nagarahole

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The sequence of events below happened on 3rd March 2012 in Kabini.

As I drove past the familiar backwaters of Kabini, I noticed a spotted deer motionless near the banks of the river, around 200 m from the road near the Balle watch tower. A quick look through the binoculars and I could make out that it was injured and bleeding from its legs and a part of its neck. I waited in the same place imagining that a predator … Read More

Village Dogs With Chital Kill, Nagarahole

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This image was taken in the Kabini backwaters inside Nagarahole National Park. The two dogs (one in the top left of the frame) managed to bring down a fully grown chital hind. The dogs were possibly from a neighboring village adjoining the park. In addition to posing as competition to wild carnivores, village dogs are known reservoirs of epidemic-causing infectious pathogens of many wild carnivores.

In most developing countries like India, dog populations are large, unowned, unvaccinated and often free-ranging. … Read More