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

Tibetan Wild Ass attacked by dog pack

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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

The Menace of Feral Dogs, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

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Feral dogs have gone on a rampage, killing 55 chinkaras in just two villages of Rajasthan last month.

The fleet-footed chinkara, the Indian gazelle, is an ace sprinter and can outstrip any pursuit by predators. Found in good numbers in western Rajasthan, the chinkara is now under threat from man’s best friend—the dog.

The chinkara, along with the camel, is also the state animal of Rajasthan.

Fifty five chinkaras were reported killed by feral dogs in the first 20 days

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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

Dogs attack a Spotted Deer near Dandeli, Karnataka

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At least 20 reports of dogs attacking deer have come in recently from the Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and places around it, such as Dandeli, Haliyal and Kumbarwada. Haveri, which boasts a large population of blackbuck, is also affected by the scourge of feral dogs.

Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR) is located in Uttara Kannada district, in Karnataka, bordering the state of Goa, and is spread over an area of 1300 sq km. KTR comprises of two important protected areas … 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