NTCA Introduces SOP To tackle The Menace Of Feral Dogs Around Tiger Reserves

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Domestic dogs or free ranging feral dogs are emerging threat to India’s wildlife. We often get to watch some viral video of unowned dogs around tiger reserves attacking or harassing the native wildlife. Wildlife of high mountains of Himalayas to arid regions and savannah, all are affected by menace of free ranging dogs.

These feral dogs are also responsible for transmitting CDV (canine distemper virus) into carnivore species. In 2018, September, CDV killed 34 of only remaining population Asiatic lions in Gujarat and infected many. They also often seen killing small to medium prey of carnivores.

As the feral dogs pose serious threat to wildlife, NTCA( National Tiger Conservation Authority) in December 2020 released a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document to tackle feral and stray dogs in tiger reserves (TRs) across the country. It spells out detailed measures and procedures to be followed for handling the dog populations in those areas to avoid injuries and the spread of diseases in tigers and other wild animals.

According to the SOP, the committee to be headed by the deputy director of the tiger reserve may include a veterinarian from the animal husbandry department and another veterinarian from non-governmental agencies, a representative each from a local non-governmental organisation, animal welfare organisation (if operating in the area), district society for the prevention of cruelty to animals and local panchayat (local administration).

Many environmentalists and animal welfarists welcomed the move while the experts believe that the SOP is based on flawed ABC(Animal Birth Control)2001 rule and less pragmatic.

Ajay Poddar
Conservation Officer- Satpuda Foundation

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