Wildlife activists have expressed concern over the recent incidents of feral dogs attacking wild sambars in Castlerock under Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Earlier this month, a wild sambar was found dead in the area after being attacked by the canines. A video also captured a sambar being chased by a pack of dogs.
When asked about the recent cases of dogs attacking sambars, a senior forest official said requesting anonymity, “The problem has not come to my notice yet. I will look into it. However, on several occasions, feral/stray dogs found within the forest area have been neutralised in order to save the wild animals. There is also a fear of diseases spreading from dogs to wild animals. They attack sambar, chital in packs of 15 or 20. We have also involved panchayat members and sensitised people to see to it that these dogs are not allowed into the forest area. We have no hold over the dog population in urban areas. But we have the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) standard operating procedures (SOPs) to deal with stray, feral dogs in tiger reserve areas.”
Notably, the NTCA SOPs state, “Delineate areas of feral dog movement and areas susceptible to ingress of stray dogs and map them in a GIS (geographic information system) domain. Monitor these areas by visual assessment for dog population in coordination with the local Animal Husbandry Department. Capture of stray and feral dogs should be strictly in accordance with the Revised Module for Street Dog Population Management, Rabies.
“The captured dogs should also be transported in a manner that they do not fight with one another. The vehicle/cage design needs to be such that street dogs can be placed inside without allowing dogs already within, to escape. The vehicle/cage must be cleaned, watered and disinfected before and after use. In case the stray/feral dog menace is severe/frequent, a dedicated transport vehicle may be fabricated as suggested in the aforesaid module.”
Under the Animal Birth Programme, the NTCA further stipulates, “The captured dogs should be dewormed on the day they are caught and subsequently subjected to animal birth control measures. Feral/stray dogs captured from within tiger reserves should under no circumstance be released back and a suitable alternate site be selected for their rehabilitation.”