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     Did dogs wipe out 80% of Kadi's blackbucks?
      AHMEDABAD: In a shocking statistic, stray dogs bit on an average 735 people in Gujarat daily this year, as per state health records. It now emerges that dogs are a major threat to wildlife especially the blackbuck.
      H S Singh, member of the National Board of Wildlife, in his paper, 'Stray dogs Major threat to wildlife', says in the past decade, attacks by stray dogs, among other reasons, have resulted in the drastic reduction of the blackbuck population from 5,000 to a mere 1,000 in Kadi in Mehsana district in north Gujarat.
      "People from across the world visit Kadi to learn how locals have protected the blackbuck in a non-protected area. In the past decade, the number has dwindled to below 1,000. Killing of blackbucks by dogs is a major factor, among other reasons," says Singh.
      This is alarming as the population of blackbucks, a Schedule-I animal under the Indian Wildlife Act 1972, has dwindled to half from 25,000 in early 2000 to 12,000 in 2015. Blackbucks are concentrated in 3,000 sq km spread between Velavadar in Bhavnagar and Kadi in Mehsana.
      Kadi taluka was known for supporting this large blackbuck population.
      Singh notes that apart from the blackbuck, the dogs are also responsible for killing the common fox and desert fox in the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch where they are reared as pets by salt pan workers.
      It is worth recalling that the Wildlife Institute of India had in its report raised an alarm over the Great Indian Bustard being killed by stray dogs.
      S C Pant, principal chief conservator of forest, too admits to the decline in the blackbuck population due to canine attacks and other factors. "Blackbucks have declined in number. Except for Velavadar, which recorded 4,000 blackbucks, no systematic count has taken place elsewhere in Gujarat," he said.











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