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Nature Seychelles re-domesticating dogs from the wild is a success story

Nature Seychelles re-domesticating dogs from the wild is a success story ( Feral animals can become a problem for tourism and wildlife. Feral dogs have been found begging for food on a couple of beaches and a few restaurants in Seychelles. The veterinary services have sought help, because these dogs could become the source of nuisance and public health issues.

The impact on wildlife could even get worse if a long-term solution is not found. On small islands, especially ones like Seychelles in which evolution has taken place in the absence of mammalian predators like rats, cats, and dogs, the presence of these animals can be devastating.

For example, domestic cats have been responsible for the extinctions of at least 33 bird species worldwide. This has often happened on small islands where domestic cats becoming semi-wild or feral.

In the Seychelles Bird Sanctuary at Roche Caiman, an urban wetland reserve adjacent to the national sports complex, feral dogs have wreaked havoc on birds in the past. Nature Seychelles, the local association managing this sanctuary, has turned away from the traditional control methods of trapping these dogs and started a new initiative - re-domesticating the dogs.

A brainwave of Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles's Chief Executive and himself an avid dog lover, the initiative has started to reap rewards. By befriending and regularly feeding the dogs outside the sanctuary and close to the association's headquarters, the animals are now sleeping within the office compound rather than in the sanctuary. “They have become very protective of this space and have become excellent guard dogs since our office is in a rather isolated setting," said Nirmal Shah.

“I think we need to proceed humanely in these situations," continued Shah. But it can't always be possible in all situations, he admitted. Shah is asking the public not to discard unwanted animals so they become feral. He says this is a danger both to humans and wildlife. He also encourages dog and cat owners to take advantage of the brilliant campaign by another association, the SSPCA, to neuter pets. This is the best way to control the population of dogs and cats, he concluded.

Nature Seychelles’ approach to befriending the wild animals is today seen as a success story by the environment-friendly and responsible organization.


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