In continuation of its efforts to save wildlife on campus, IITMadras has begun microchipping stray dogs to prevent unauthorized entry of new ones. A third-party agency, Jeevakarunya Animal Welfare Charitable Trust, has been entrusted with the task of microchipping the dogs after obtaining approval from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) nominated permanent committee, which has Chennai Wildlife Warden CH Padma as a member. IIT-M officials told Express that microchips have already been procured and the exercise has begun.
According to estimates, there are about 176 dogs on the campus and only 70 are friendly. About 40 percent of the dogs are located in the residential zone, 36 percent in the hostel zone, and 23 percent in the academic zone. “The animal welfare agency has conducted a reconnaissance survey of the roaming and feral dogs. As per the behavior patterns, the dogs are being segregated as feral and stray dogs as per Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) guidelines, after which they are taken for as vaccination, ABC surgery, de-worming, microchipping, etc.,” a senior IIT-M official said.
Currently, there are 14 designated dog feeding locations, Besides, enclosures are built to separate feral dogs and there are isolation units for dogs under medical treatment. All the steps are in accordance with AWBI guidelines, the authorities said.
When contacted, Chennai Wildlife Warden CH Padma told Express that IIT-M has done tremendous work in dealing with stray dogs on the campus for the last one year. “A whopping 90 percent of deer and blackbuck deaths were happening due to a stray dog attack.
But, the death rate has significantly fallen now after feeding restrictions were imposed and aggressive feral dogs were identified and isolated in closed enclosures.” Meanwhile, the NGT-nominated permanent committee has suggested IIT-M form Campus Wildlife Watch groups to monitor and report unauthorized feeding at undesignated locations and initiate action against violators under Service Rules and Estate Rules of the Institute.
Some of the faculty members have raised concerns before the committee about the increase in feeding locations. Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, who lived on the campus for 40 years, said the stray dog menace has been severe on campus over the past 2-3 years, mainly due to a sudden increase in the number of stray dogs that have been let loose into the campus. He claimed that 98 percent of faculty members are against the increase in feeding locations.
Demanding a reduction in feeding locations from 14 to 4, faculty representatives said, “Visiting faculty and students from foreign countries have raised serious concern over the dog menace. It adversely affects the reputation of the institute, which is ranked Number 1 in the country. IIT-M has been granted the position of ‘Institute of Eminence’ and it is expected that more number of foreign faculty and students will visit and stay on the campus.
If this dog menace continues, it will give us a negative feedback.” IIT-M officials said only 20 percent of the dogs ate food in the designated locations. The Padma said the feeding locations will be reviewed in the next committee meeting. “Unused or less used feeding points will be closed after collecting data and obtaining approval from the committee members,” she told Express.
A few animal rights activists, however, are unhappy with IIT-M caging dogs in the enclosure and have started an online petition demanding their immediate release. The activists alleged that the institute is capturing and caging dogs that are already sterilized and objected to the fact that an NGO from Nagercoil was engaged in sterilizing dogs.
The activists alleged that the institute is capturing and caging dogs that are already sterilized and objected to the fact that an NGO from Nagercoil was engaged for sterilizing dogs
Source: New Indian Express
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