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Sterilization of feral dogs in high-altitude areas of Sikkim

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Gangtok, Aug 28 (PTI) To contain the adverse ecologicalimpact of wild dog population in high-altitude deserts ofnorth Sikkim, a SARAH team is conducting extensivesterilisation and vaccination drives there. The Sikkim Anti-rabies and Animal Health Division (SARAH)team under veterinary surgeon Tenzing Dorjee Sherpa is innorth Sikkim conducting ABC (Animal Birth Control) surgery andanti-rabies vaccination. "We successfully conducted about 52 operations in Kerangat an approximate altitude of 17,000 ft where temperaturesdrop to minus 35 degrees Celsius and wind velocity is 50 kmper hour," Thinley Bhutia, SARAH Project Director said. "The feral dog packs in these high-altitude areas are nowencroaching on the food-chain of the top predators in theseareas such as snow leopards," he said. He said that the feral dogs have also impacted theexistence of endangered species such as Blue Sheep andmountain goats, who are now being hunted by these dogsdisrupting the fragile flora and fauna of these areas. Claiming that hundreds of feral dogs have been sterilisedin the past few years, Bhutia said this has brought down thenumber of wild dogs to a large extent. The SARAH is also working at Lachen located at a heightof 8,900 feet, where an ITBP transit camp is there, where theyare conducting the drive even for pet dogs who are beingvaccinated and operated. PTI COR MMSRY

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