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Wild dogs attackes mules in Gasa
October 2003
wild dog
Wild dogs have killed 24 mules, six cattle and two yaks since the beginning of this year in Gasa, the country's northernmost dzongkhag.
"The number may be higher because some incidents go unreported," the deputy warden of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck national park, said.

The park warden reported that although there were numerous wild dog attacks on the domestic animals in the past the problem was aggravated this year.

"The people of Gasa are traumatised by the number of mules the wild dogs killed this year," he said. "Wild dogs are native animals found in almost all parts of the country."

The wild dogs, according to Gasaps, hunt during the day in packs of seven to eight dogs.The cattle and other domestic animals that are left free in the forest to graze are easy victims for these wild dogs. Cattle herders have reported that when they tried shooing the wild dogs away, they were snarled at and had to retreat for safety.

Farmers who saw the wild dogs described them as looking more like the domestic dogs, only wilder and aggressive.

The forest officers in Gasa do not know the wild dog population but have plans to do a population survey soon. According to the deputy warden the people of Gasa are exasperated with the continual problem and threats posed by wild dogs. "They want some kind of compensation for the loss of their domestic animals or they want to do away with the wild dogs once and for all," said Phuntsho.

Although wild dogs are not listed in schedule-I of the forest and nature conservation act, 1995 as protected animals, their presence was necessary in the forest ecosystem to maintain the ecological balance, said a nature conservation division official. "They maintain the prey population." Gasa dzongkhag's livestock sector is introducing an insurance scheme for the horse owners. The scheme, according, Phuntsho said, would provide some financial assistance to the farmers who have lost their horses to wild dogs.

In the mid-70s, the government initiated a mass poisoning of wild dogs that traumatised farmers and killed their cattle. Most carnivores were killed and soon forgotten.
But after nearly 22 years, the wild dogs made a come back in January this year killing cattle and domestic animals in the lower Kheng region in Zhemgang.


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