Dogs top predators in the Himalayas, have killed livestock worth Rs 12 lakh: Study
Dogs are among the top predators of livestock in the upper Himalayan region and have killed more farm animals than snow leopards and wolves, a study by Bengaluru-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment shows.
According to the multi-author study, dogs were responsible for the majority of livestock losses amounting to Rs 12 lakh as compared to that by snow leopards at Rs 10 lakh and wolves at Rs 1.5 lakh.
The Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh has become a major hunting ground for dogs due to an increase in human population, rise in the number of tourists, restaurants, and hotels, an absence of proper waste management system, and explosion of the dog population, it said.
Dogs have spread to several remote villages and high altitude pastures, threatening not only livestock but also other wildlife such as blue sheep, snow leopard, and red fox.
“This high level of conflict may disrupt community benefits from conservation programs and potentially undermine the conservation efforts in the region through a range of cascading effects,” the study said.
A combination of methods such as field surveys, interviews, and data from secondary sources was used to examine the patterns and factors behind the attack on livestock by dogs, as well as economic losses to local communities.
Canines are the world’s third most damaging invasive mammalian predators behind rodents and cats. Dogs have contributed to the extinction of 11 vertebrate species and they pose a threat to at least 188 threatened species worldwide.