Stray dog population in Pune city drops to 1.79 lakh - Hindustan Times

Stray dog population in Pune city drops to 1.79 lakh

ByVicky Pathare, Pune
Apr 14, 2023 01:43 AM IST

Stray dog population in Pune has decreased by 42.87% in the last five years, according to a recent census by the Pune Municipal Corporation. Factors contributing to the decline include changes in resource supply during lockdowns, increased urbanisation, and sterilisation surgeries. The census was conducted by QICODE SOLUTIONS using a capture-recapture method to estimate population sizes. The study aimed to control the street dog population and manage the incidence of rabies through Animal Birth Control and Rabies Control programmes.

Even as the dog bite cases are on the rise in Pune underlining the menace of stray dogs, the latest census carried out by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) suggest the number of stray dogs have gone down.

Latest PMC census suggests the number of stray dogs has dropped to 1.79 lakh. (HT FILE)
Latest PMC census suggests the number of stray dogs has dropped to 1.79 lakh. (HT FILE)

The previous stray dog population census was conducted in May 2018, wherein the dog population was around 315,000. The recent census, conducted through a private firm, stated the canine population reduced to 179, 940 in 2023.

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“The decline in the population is around 42.87% in the last five years,” said a PMC official.

The factors contributing to the drop in number of stray dogs are changes in resource supply for survival during lockdowns, increased urbanisation which is likely to have reduced stray dog breeding areas which were previously unoccupied open lands. Linear infrastructure development, that is expansion of highways and development of wide roads reducing migration rates of dogs into different areas.

“Sterilisation surgeries of 85,133 dogs (Animal Birth Control programme) by PMC and reduction in open garbage dump spots within the city has also led to reduced resources for dogs to breed and thrive,” said a civic body official.

“Increased preventive mass anti-rabies vaccination drives done by PMC, Animal Birth Control contractors and non-governmental organisations, improved response (mass vaccination drives and community awareness) in areas where canine rabies positive cases are reported are the factors contributing to the fiver-year reduction in the stray population,” said a PMC official.

“The estimated abundance of dogs in Pune City is determined to be between 106,836 and 253,045 based on the estimated area of road transects surveyed, and dog abundance per sq km. On the roads in PMC, the average, the low and high ranges are considered to provide an estimated stray dog population for Pune city,” said the census report. Stray dog population estimation study project was commissioned in January 2023 by the PMC to estimate the free-ranging or stray dog population of Pune city in 2023 and analyse the five-year canine rabies incidence in Pune city limits. The census was conducted in order to control the street dog population and manage the incidence of rabies, by help of Animal Birth Control and Rabies Control programmes.

The capture-recapture method was used by ecologists to estimate population sizes and related parameters such as survival rates, birth rates and migration rates. It relies on data collection by surveys to capture photographic evidence and GPS coordinates which is then processed, and analysed statistically to derive animal population estimation.

The study project was undertaken by QICODE SOLUTIONS, Pune that developed the web-based application APEDATAPRO in consultation with ATREE (Ashoka Trust For Research In Environment & Ecology), Bengaluru and RESQ CT (RESQ Charitable Trust), Pune. The study design was provided by ATREE and conducted jointly by QICODE and RESQ CT in Pune city.

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