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

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