To contain the adverse ecological impact of wild dog population in high-altitude deserts of north Sikkim, a SARAH team is conducting extensive sterilisation and vaccination drives there.
The Sikkim Anti-rabies and Animal Health Division (SARAH)team under veterinary surgeon Tenzing Dorjee Sherpa is in north Sikkim conducting ABC (Animal Birth Control) surgery and anti-rabies vaccination.
“We successfully conducted about 52 operations in Kerang at an approximate altitude of 17,000 ft where temperatures drop to minus 35 degrees Celsius and wind velocity is 50 km per hour,” Thinley Bhutia, SARAH Project Director said.
“The feral dog packs in these high-altitude areas are now encroaching on the food-chain of the top predators in these areas such as snow leopards,” he said.
He said that the feral dogs have also impacted the existence of endangered species such as Blue Sheep and mountain goats, who are now being hunted by these dogs disrupting the fragile flora and fauna of these areas.
Claiming that hundreds of feral dogs have been sterilised in the past few years, Bhutia said this has brought down the number of wild dogs to a large extent.
The SARAH is also working at Lachen located at a height of 8,900 feet, where an ITBP transit camp is there, where they are conducting the drive even for pet dogs who are being vaccinated and operated.