Our Journey Begins
In December 2013, Debby Ng and Mukhiya Godame made a trip into the Nepal’s Himalaya to photograph its wildlife.During their search for Himalayan wildlife, they learned from locals that populations of ground foraging birds like Kalij pheasant, Blood pheasants, Snow pigeons and Snowcocks, as well as mammals like red panda, blue sheep and musk deer are being chased, attacked, and sometimes killed by populations of unmanaged stray dogs within the national park.
Villagers they spoke to estimated that 97-98% of free-roaming dogs are uncared for. Woodcutters interviewed reported seeing packs of dogs attacking red panda in the low lying bamboo forests, and dragging the wild animals onto streets within the village. There have also been consistent reports of dogs taking musk deer and young livestock. Dogs also chase and attack native foxes and jackal that occasionally venture to the low areas especially during winter when food resources are scarce.
Some desperate villagers who have had their livestock taken by the dogs, turn to deal with the dogs in the only way they know how, that is to cull the dogs by feeding them food laced with toxic pesticides. The dog carcasses are disposed along hillsides where they are then consumed by scavengers. Locals have witnessed sick vultures unable to fly after eating these dog carcasses. The impact on scavenging animals that feed on these poisoned carcasses is still yet to be known.
The Himalayan Mutt Project was founded with the simple aim of introducing effective and alternative methods to control the dog population with Nepal’s Himalaya. Our goal is to replicate the program in other more remote areas of Nepal where unmanaged domestic dog populations continue to proliferate simply because the region is too remote and conducting field neutering camps are especially challenging logistically, as well as financially.
We want to develop a longterm relationship with rural communities, to teach, engage and allow them to manage their community dog populations for the benefit of their livestock, environment, and themselves.