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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A major menace - The stray dogs

I have seen this often near my home town of Jabalpur. The city still contains wilderness bereft in others. There is a substantial population of chital deer, barking deer, Chinkara, sambar, wild boars, langurs and peacock in the reserve forests surrounding Jabalpur City in Madhya Pradesh.  

A pack of dogs (not dhole) chasing a deer or seeking for one is often seen. Like any town of India stray dogs abound not only are they a menace to human population as they carry rabies they have become a major threat to wildlife. The menace if not controlled will take a heavy toll of wildlife all over the country.

After the organized slaughter during the British Regime in India and subsequently by the Maharajahs, Satraps and Nawabs the pillars of imperialism in India, stray dogs are next. The natural predators like the wolf,  jackal, fox and hyena are loosing  ground and this is causing an imbalance in predator prey relationship - by the sheer numbers of the stray dogs. The prey species in reserve forests, buffer and periphery help support a greater number of predators that includes tigers and leopards. 

The Central Indian Tiger Reserves the best managed in India also face this threat since every pocket of conserved ecosystem outside the CTH contains tigers and leopards. The gains we have made in terms of increasing tiger/leopard populations in the reserves will be done away by the stray dogs.  

I believe this issue is being taken lightly. If the danger is realized to be of threatening proportion, stray dog population control will get impetus which anyway is a must.  

Thanks to excellent conservation measures prey species in parks like Kanha has spread over the reserve forests in the periphery thus supporting greater numbers of predators.  But this gain will be short lived if preventive measures are not immediately put into action. 

Spotted Deer


Barking Deer
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