The city’s first hi-tech stray dog population estimation survey report states that there are 95,172 strays in the greater Mumbai area, or up to one dog per 130 people.
According to the summary report on the survey done by Humane Society International, an NGO working for animal welfare, on behalf of the civic body, the number of roaming dogs found on the streets is 66,087, while the number of roaming dogs found in slum areas is 29,085. These figures have been calculated assuming that there is no overlap between the two populations.
The surveyors had counted 9,628 roaming dogs along 914 km of street length in the city over five weeks starting on January 7. The final figure was estimated by extrapolating the actual number of dogs counted using the Lincoln-Peterson Index.
“This is a first time a stray dog population estimation is done in a scientific manner, but just the total figure does not give us the entire picture, especially on the success of sterilisation programmes in the city. However, presence of fewer lactating dogs and the year-wise data collected from vaccination and sterilisation centres indicate that the stray population in the city is on the decline,” said Abodh Aras of The Welfare of Stray Dogs. The NGO is in the process of computing the number of sterilised stray dogs and will soon submit a final report to the BMC.
Ever since the sterilisation programme was taken up in 1994, 2.55 lakh strays have been sterilised, according to figures from the public health department.
This year, smartphone applications replaced the traditional method of noting down the number of stray dogs spotted on paper. Five teams comprising veterinarians and local volunteers used the GPS-enabled OSM (OpenStreetMap) Tracker app to record each dog spotted, and place them in categories such as male notched (operated upon) or unnotched, female notched or unnotched, female lactating, and pups by a click of an icon on their smartphones. The NGO had created 25 to 30-km tracks of streets in each ward for their `strip transact’ method of population estimation using the Google Maps app.
According to the BMC’s stray dog census between October 2007 and January 2008, there were 76,000 dogs in the city, of which 26,900 were found to be pets.