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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Left behind by salt-pan workers, 25 dogs rescued from Little Rann of Kutch

Spread over around 5,000 square kilometres, LRK is a mudflat ecosystem, which is habitat of Indian wild ass as well as blue bulls (nilgai) and smaller predators such as jungle cats and fox.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: June 11, 2021 2:06:07 am
Volunteers rescue a dog from Little Rann of Kutch. (Express)

As many as 25 street dogs left behind by salt-pan workers were rescued in a three-day operation from the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) in Surendranagar district where salt cultivation season ended for the year.

The dogs rescued by Jivdaya Charitable Trust (JCT) in coordination with the forest department were released in a village last week.

“A huge number of dogs that accompanied agariyas (salt-pan workers) were left behind in LRK when the salt cultivation season ended for the yeear and workers returned to their homes by the end of May. We undertook an operation between June 4 and June 6 in coordination with the forest department and rescued 25 dogs,” Sanjay Patel, general manager of JCT, told The Indian Express on Thursday.

JCT is a non-governmental oragnisation (NGO) that runs a veterinary hospital inside the Ahmedabad Panjrapole. Patel said that the rescued dogs were released in Odu village near Kharaghoda in Surendrangar district after being given anti-rabies vaccine.

“When the agariyas head to the LRK from their villages in October-November for cultivating salt, these street dogs follow them. Many agariyas take these dogs with them to protect their huts and children from wild animals. While the adult dogs may find their way back to the human settlements on the borders of the LRK, the ones born inside the desert lose their way. Food availability reduces as the Agariyas leave,” Patel added.

Spread over around 5,000 square kilometres, LRK is a mudflat ecosystem, which is habitat of Indian wild ass as well as blue bulls (nilgai) and smaller predators such as jungle cats and fox. It is also one of the hotspots of wetland birds.

“Dogs generally return to villages with agariyas… But this year, this NGO approached us with a proposal to rescue the dogs left behind and we extended our support,” said SS Asoda, deputy conservator of forests (DCF), Wild Ass Sanctuary.

Asoda said that feral dogs can bother wild assess and other wild animals and birds in the sanctuary. “As per assessment of our field staff, they are not a big issue as of now for the wildlife inside the LRK. We catch and remove them from the protected areas on and off,” said the DCF.

The LRK is a protected area but it witnesses intense salt-cultivation activity during winter and summer.

“It has started raining and further rescue operation is not possible. However, we are told that local youths are rescuing a few dogs every day and bring them back to villages,” Patel added.

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