English | Dzongkha Saturday, May 8, 2021

Stray domestic animals, a growing concern in Gangteng and Phobji

Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang
Aug 21, 2019

Stray domestic animals are becoming a growing problem in Gangteng and Phobji valleys of Wangdue Phodrang. The residents say it is especially horses and cattle saved through the practice of life release or tshethar that people release in the valleys.

And according to the locals, the stray population has been growing. They said people from outside the gewogs release the animals.

Apart from the stray animals damaging the crops, what worries people more is when the animals die. With no owners, the carcasses are left for stray dogs to feed on. The leftovers, locals said, are scattered in the surrounding. They shared that some stray dogs in the community have even become feral.

“The stray animals not just graze here but also destroy our crops. The more serious problem is when the stray dogs attack and kill the animals. Due to this taste of blood, the dogs are even attacking humans,” Gyeltshen from Phobji Gewog, said.

“We heard a discussion was held with the Gasa dzongkhag administration and they agreed to take back their horses. It has not happened yet. We can’t chase them away because being here is not their fault,” Sati, also from Phobji, said.

The risks of diseases spreading among animals are also high.

“We are not able to give the stray animals its annual vaccination. So there is a high risk of diseases getting spread even if we vaccinate other animals. It is difficult to provide treatment or prevent it from spreading when there is an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the area,” Bhim Bdr. Subba, the Gewog Livestock Extension Officer of  Phobji, said.

The issue was discussed several times in the Dzongkhag Tshogdu but the resolutions passed did not bring about any development.

“From next year, if we come across stray animals in the locality that has entered without the notice of the gewog administration, we will chase them away. We might even auction it off. People do not pay heed to the dzongkhag administration’s notification on the matter so we have to act on it,” Gyeltshen, the Gangteng Gup, said.

At the same time, the gewog administrations of Gangteng and Phobji are urging outsiders and the people of neighbouring gewogs to avoid sending their animals towards their valleys. They are also asking the public to refrain from releasing tshethar animals in their territories.

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