September 14, 2016
Dog census underway in the critical Great Indian Bustard habitat in the Thar region
Humane Society International/India, Wildlife Institute of India, and Rajasthan Forest Department are conducting a dog population survey on the outskirts of Jaisalmer
Wildlife Institute of India is implementing the Recovery Actions for the Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustard program in collaboration with the State Forest Departments and other NGOs and with support from Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change. As part of the project, the institute commissioned Humane Society International/India to survey and then manage the dog population through sterilization in the Thar region, habitat of the bustard.
Controlling the dog population in a humane and scientific manner is an important part of the conservation plan because the free-roaming dogs are known to hunt bustard eggs and chicks, further endangering them. The first step of implementing any dog population management program is to assess the size of the dog population in the area.
Dr. Amit Chaudhari, senior manager for HSI’s monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment program, explains, “A dog population survey, followed by a humane and scientific dog population control program will help in protecting the habitat of the Great Indian Bustard without resorting to cruel and unnecessary dog culling.”
The team of HSI/India and Wildlife Institute researchers is using a mobile app created by HSI to conduct such dog population surveys. Out of the 78 villages located in the GIB habitat, HSI/India has identified a random sample of 15 villages (~20 percent) to survey the dog population. The average dog population in these villages will be extrapolated to give an estimated number of dogs in the habitat.
A program like this can not only help in protecting the habitat of the bustard but also protect the people and other animals that live in this habitat.
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