Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Man’s so-called best friend is indeed the most numerous and widespread of the world’s carnivores -- as exemplified by these images.
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 towards a ridge.
After viewing it through my telescopic lens, my first impression was that the dog’s prey was a leopard cub. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and hence, clicked a few images to confirm what I was seeing. Immediately, I started running towards the dogs, hoping that I could still save the cub if it was not seriously injured. However, with the additional weight of my camera and lens, I couldn’t cover a large distance.
My concern was that if I shout, the dog might bolt away with the cub. However, one of the dogs did notice me climbing and signaled the dog with the kill. Within a split second, they both vanished into a coffee worker’s settlement. I immediately came down and with the help of my friends, managed to contact the estate manager. I showed him the images and sought his help to save the cub.
He immediately recognized the feral dogs, saying that he sees them regularly in and around the estate. After a while, one of the workers came to us with the carcass and we realized that the prey was a leopard cat and not a leopard cub. It was dead [inset in pic]. It had suffered some grievous injuries around the chest.
With a lump in my throat I left that place. I requested the manager to keep the forest department informed about this incident.
With the growing population of feral dog across the country, especially around the fringe areas of the forest, they are becoming a serious issue for wildlife by preying on or harassing wildlife, and by transmitting diseases.
See compilation of posts and images on feral / free-ranging dogs on Conservation India.