Jackal and Domestic Dog Hybrid, Howrah, West Bengal

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On the evening of 30th September 2018, I was strolling near a village named Narit, Howrah, West Bengal, to try and get a glimpse of the fishing cat. Instead, I chanced upon a pack of 7-8 Golden Jackals (Canis aureus) that had suddenly appeared out of the darkness in dense bamboo forest.

Among the pack, two had a distinct coat of white and a tinge of orange. Initially I mistook them to be street or feral dogs, but unlike dogs, … Read More

Feral Dog Hunting Bar-headed Goose, Magadi, Karnataka

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In December 2018, I had been to Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve (declared in 2015), popularly known as Magadi Bird Sanctuary in Gadag District of North Karnataka. Several migratory birds make this lake their home during winter. Of these winter visitors is one of the world’s highest flying birds, the Bar-headed Goose, migrating from Mongolia. Over the years, bird lovers have reported many ringed birds here, contributing to the data about their migration. The Karnataka Forest Department has also taken measures … Read More

Conserving the Dhole in Karnataka’s Western Ghats

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The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is pack-living apex predator found in south and southeast Asia, currently threatened with endangerment. Dholes are generally restricted to protected forest habitats, but also occur in reserve forests and production agroforests (like tea and coffee plantations). The recent IUCN Red List assessment suggests that there may be 1000–2000 adult, mature dholes left in the wild. Despite its precarious status, the dhole remains one of the least studied large carnivores in the world. … Read More

Friends in Wrong Places: Assessing the Impacts of Domestic Dogs on Wildlife in India

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In human-populated landscapes, domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the most abundant terrestrial carnivore, with a global population close to a billion. In India, total dog population is estimated to be about 60 million. Dogs interact with wildlife at multiple levels and despite their controversial effects, global ubiquity and significant ecological roles they remain poorly understood. Although there has been growing evidence of threats posed by free-ranging dogs, very few attempts have been made to understand the impact of free-roaming … Read More

Feral Dogs attack a Tibetan Wild Ass

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While on a birding tour to Ladakh in July 2016, I was heading further east from Pangong Tso, crossing the Chushul plains. I stopped to get the permits checked at the Loma ITBP check-post. While waiting there, a Kiyang entering the river grabbed my attention. I waited and watched as I had never seen them doing that. To my surprise, it started swimming to go across. Meanwhile, it had also caught the attention of a pack of dogs, which had … Read More

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

Village Dog Feeding on Barking Deer, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

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It is no surprise that Mussoorie is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Uttarakhand, yet it harbours a wide range of wildlife. In my recent visit to Mussoorie on April 2015, I was quite excited to see many of Himalayan winged wonders amidst the buzzing Mall Road and the overcrowded streets. On one of our walks to reach Cloud’s End Forest Resort through a small village called Hathipaon we stumbled upon a healthy village dog feeding on a … Read More

Feral Dog with Little Grebe Kill, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

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The menace that feral dogs pose to wildlife is once again seen in this picture, taken on 05/11/2017 near Jodhpur.
 
Feral dogs are fed by people here as a religious practice. Because of the easily available food, and the protection and care received by them in the city, their population has increased by several times in the last few years. The dogs are found just about everywhere. In several parts of the city, they have become quite a menace, and … 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

Long-billed Plover and Dog, Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

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On 4th May, 2016 we were birding at Sangti Valley near Dirang, West Arunachal, mainly with the intent of seeing Long-billed Plovers (a rare bird in the subcontinent). This is one of the few locations in India where this bird can be seen. Upon reaching there we found a couple of birds in the fields along the bank of the river and not on the riverbed, where they are usually seen. More surprisingly, it seemed that they were being chased … Read More

Blackbuck – Feral Dog Conflict, Vetnai

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The romanticism of Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild’ evaporates fast when one considers the feral dog scourge in the country. I have witnessed several occasions where feral dogs are are still being pampered despite creating serious social and ecological problems.  Man’s best friend is not wildlife’s best friend.

We witnessed a feral dog chase a Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) in Vetnai or Bhetnai sanctuary (in Ganjam district of Odisha) in July 2015. Luckily for the buck, my guide and … Read More

Leopard Cat Killed by Feral Dogs, Coorg, Karnataka

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During my recent bird watching visit to Coorg (Suntikoppa), Karnataka on December 13, 2015, I witnessed a tragic incident in which a leopard cat was killed by feral dogs. A bunch of friends and I were busy photographing birds close to a coffee estate when one of my friends noticed two dogs trying to catch something in the bushes close by. He alerted us about the situation, and the next moment, one of the dogs caught something and started running … 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

Healthy Dogs, Healthy Cats — Containing Feral Dogs to Protect Wildlife

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Feral dogs kill more livestock in Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh region than snow leopards and wolves combined. Now, conservationists and local communities are teaming up to contain the canines and protect local wildlife.

In India’s Spiti region, an unlikely threat to wildlife has emerged over the last few of years: feral dogs. Kaza, Spiti’s capital, only has 300 households – but as many as 250 feral dogs. They roam free, without proper homes, care and attention. These dogs have … Read More

Feral Dogs – A Growing Threat to Wildlife

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The grasslands of Tal Chhapar in Rajasthan are home to a rich variety of wildlife. Blackbuck dominate the park landscape and during winter, it’s a paradise for birdwatchers. Majestic raptors, fast-flying falcons, agile wheatears, spiny-tailed lizards, the list goes on. While the park has a well balanced ecosystem, wildlife does spill out of the park due to various reasons. Villagers often dump carcasses of their dead animals for open burials at the nearby Goshala. These carcasses attract scavengers, like Egyptian … Read More

Feral Dogs and Wild Canids in Bidar

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The grasslands of Bidar are home to several species of wildlife. The star attractions are Blackbuck and Indian Fox, among others. There has been a rapid development of the city and industries around the grassland. There are several small settlements that have come up, bringing with them domestic fowl and stray/feral dogs.

During one of our trips to Bidar, we saw a fox on an evening visit to the grassland. We also saw dogs chasing blackbuck. The next morning, we … Read More

Dog chasing Griffon Vulture

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I shot this photograph at Jorbeer, Bikaner. There is a dump-yard where carcasses (cattle, camels, etc) from all over the city are dumped. During winter, a large number of Eurasian Griffons (Gyps fulvus) gather here. Even last year, over a 1000 Griffons congregated here. They are also joined by Himalayan Griffons and Cinereous vultures, in smaller numbers. I counted about 30 cinereous vultures there this weekend. That apart, this place also attracts a very large number of Steppe … 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

Domestic Dogs chasing Indian Wild Ass, Little Rann of Kutch

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The Indian Wild Ass or Khur (Equus hemionus khur), is an endangered animal with its last refuge in India’s only wild ass sanctuary. The Khur was formerly widespread in the arid zone of northwestern India and Pakistan, westwards through much of central Asia. However, it is now limited to the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India. The khur probably went extinct in Baluchistan and the extreme south of Pakistan, on the Indian border, during the 1960s (Corbet … Read More

Blackbuck and Sheep

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This was photographed in a field near the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve (formerly Maidenahalli) in Tumkur district, Karnataka. These free ranging blackbuck share their habitat with sheep herders and a lot of sheep. The sheep herders use dogs to protect their livestock and these dogs sometimes prey on newborn blackbuck — another threat to the numerous ones the reserve and the blackbuck already faces.

See this post for more conservation threats to the Jayamangali Blackbuck.… Read More

Dog Menace, Hesaraghatta

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In the first week of September, I visited the Hesaraghatta grasslands in Bangalore with a couple of friends. I have already posted on CI about the habitat destruction in the grasslands (see gallery post in CI here) here.

As soon as I entered, I was witness to a disturbing sight. There were a couple of dogs, of which one was chasing this black-naped hare. It would have almost caught the hare, which was fortunate to live another day.… Read More

Dogs at War — Indian Wolf hounded by Feral Dogs

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The Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallippes) though declared as an endangered species, and listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, remains an ignored species in India. Indian wolves, like most canids in India, are found in dry, degraded habitats which fail to get enough attention and protection compared to the green tracts of the country. These creatures are often found around human habitation in rural areas. Blamed for killing poultry, goats and sheep, adult wolves … 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