Owing to attacks of feral dogs on rare species of animals and birds of Ladakh, the government today asked the Army and other forces deployed in the cold desert to breed Ladakhi dogs, train them and use them in the service of armed forces.
Over the years feral dogs have been on a rampage in Ladakh, preying on exotic wildlife species as they thrive on kitchen leftovers, food waste of the army camps and hotels.
The dogs have been attacking black-necked crane, snow leopard, and eggs of black-necked crane. The black-necked crane is held in high regard in the region and many monasteries feature paintings of the crane alongside other spiritual art.
Ladakh government principal secretary, planning Ladakh, Pawan Kotwal, convened a meeting to discuss and streamline activities in the wildlife areas of the region.
“Issues regarding the attack of feral and wild dogs on rare species and birds of Ladakh were discussed in the meeting. The principal secretary emphasized that these dogs are a threat to several resident and migratory ground-nesting birds in Changthang,” a government spokesman said.
He said it was conveyed in the meeting that inability to tackle this problem may lead to severe endangering of critical bird and mammalian species.
The government has already discussed the issue within the wildlife board and they have been conveyed that three Army officers have been appointed as wildlife wardens and now they are equally responsible for the protection of wildlife.
Kotwal said the management of kitchen leftovers, food waste at army camps and hotels, by disposing them in biodigesters could be a good way to control the population of stray dogs.
Kotwal said the organic waste composting machine piloted successfully by SECURE Himalaya Project in Chushul may be replicated in other armed forces camps and densely populated villages of Changthang.
Kotwal said the Army and other forces should explore the possibility of breeding pure-bred Ladakhi dogs to be trained and used by the armed forces and other security forces as guard dogs.
However, experts say the move in no way would help to make wildlife secure from feral dogs.
The Army said in the meeting that the practice has been followed in Kashmir valley as the local dogs have been adopted by the Army.
Kotwal said shortly Ladakh administration will be declaring Hanle as a ‘Dark Sky Sanctuary’ in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics to promote astro- tourism in the area and provide avenues of earning livelihood for the people living there.