Fighting the dog virus threatening India's tiger population

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Fighting the dog virus threatening India's tiger population

Tue 31st Mar 2015

Last Saturday, WVS India joined forces with WWF India and IPAN to vaccinate dogs against distemper in Mudumalai tiger reserve in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

In total, 439 dogs were vaccinated against distemper and rabies, to protect both the wildlife and human population. Though at the moment India is fast trying to protect its tiger population, after several big cats tested positive for the virus, which is common among dogs but deadly to carnivores. 

We spoke to head of ITC WVS India, Dr Maiju Tamminen about the vaccination drive. 

"I was contacted by a WWF India advisor, Mr. Mohanraj, a couple of weeks ago. The local officials of Mudumalai National Park had asked WWF India to arrange a mass vaccination of dogs in the bufferzone of the national park against canine distemper. WWF India asked for our assistance in conducting the vaccination drive. 

We conducted the mass vaccination drive on Saturday March 28th with a group of ITC participants (who were attending an overseas course), ITC vets, dog catchers and assistants. We worked in three teams and covered Masinagudi area as well as all the villages on the borders of the tiger reserve. The dogs were vaccinated with seven-in-one and rabies vaccines and they all received ivermectin for deworming.  I continued the vaccinations on the following day with one team and a volunteer vet from IPAN to finish three small areas that hadn't been done on saturday. In total, 439 dogs were vaccinated.

WWF India arranged the vaccines and meals for the whole group. They also arranged the forest guards to help us convince people to allow their dogs to be vaccinated.

Unfortunately we didn't see any tigers, but some of the participants spotted a leopard!"" 

In September 2010, the WVS India International Training Centre (ITC) was launched. Based in Ooty, South India, the centre was established to provide practical training to Indian vets and local charity workers, promoting best practice techniques in animal welfare. 

If you would like to get involved you can find out more about it here