Vaccination of dogs has become a priority for Panna Tiger Reserve, that rose from infamy to script a turnaround by successfully reintroducing the wild cats.
About 600 stray and pet dogs in 13 villages in the buffer zone of the reserve now sport an identity collar around their necks. This is proof that they have been vaccinated for eight diseases like canine distemper and rabies.
A week from now, teams will fan out in the villages and trace the same dogs to administer a booster dose to neutralise chances of the canines contracting, and, more importantly, passing on the deadly diseases to the big cats.
The 600 dogs, most of them stray, were chased and netted over the last fortnight by teams of five volunteers who collected blood samples, vaccinated them and put collars on them for easy identification.
The vaccination drive, which has made some dog owners doubtful and suspicious of the motive, was triggered by the death of a tiger in August due to canine distemper virus.
Dr Sanjeev Kumar Gupta, the veterinary doctor at the reserve, told The Indian Express, “We are appealing to villagers for cooperation.”
There are 150 villages in the reserve’s buffer area.