Shimla: A H.P Forest Department study has found that increasing count of feral dogs in high-altitude regions of Lahaul and Pangi are posing an imminent threat to wildlife species of high range Himalayan ecosystems.

The Wildlife Wing of H.P Forest Department has recently conducted a first of its kind study on feral dogs through Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata to understand the distribution pattern, population status and feeding resources of feral dogs in the Lahaul and Pangi landscape under GoI-GEF-UNDP SECURE Himalaya Project.

Archana Sharma, Chief Wildlife Warden confined that the “issue of feral dogs in high altitude areas is a concerning, since the feral dogs are reported to lead to biodiversity loss, depredations of wildlife species and also competing with large carnivores like Snow Leopard.”

Dr. Lalit Kumar Sharma, Scientist, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata informed that based on the SCER model, feral dog density was found to be 2.78 individuals per 100 Km on an average ranging from 1.4 to 5.5 individuals per 100 km in the Lahaul and Pangi landscape.

Dr. Manoj Thakur, State Project Officer, SECURE Himalaya Project informed that on the basis of findings of this report, the H.P Forest Department and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with other line department’s and local community based organisation will start the implementation of strategy proposed by ZSI for feral dog management under which dog sterilisation and awareness generation activities on responsible dog ownership will be undertaken on priority this year. He further informed that UNDP is working closely with Forest Department and other line departments to ensure sustainable management of the high range Himalayan ecosystems and to address their conservation and livelihood challenges under SECURE Himalaya Project.