Feral dogs can be a problem, they breed freely and invade people's space. Abandoning animals is wrong, pet owners who dump their dogs are just as much to blame for the problems these animals cause as the animals themselves. Something I did a few years ago was to release a non-profit poetry book which directly funds an animal rescue project in Bulgaria. That's one way to help solve the problem of stray and feral dogs, and one I think is very worthwhile.
However,in India around 200,000 people die each year from rabies. This infection is most commonly passed on by feral dogs who bite people. It is a difficult illness to cure and prevention is not easy. It has been shown though that leopards who live in or nearby cities have diets which include these troublesome animals. As citizens often fear the big cats, they are considered as unwelcome visitors by many. Yet if the word can get out that these predators are reducing rabies in a big way then nature can come to the rescue.
The data gathered by Chris O'Bryan and Alexander Braczkowski from the University of Queensland showed that 35 leopards living in Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park were eating around 1500 dogs a year. The New Scientist reported that estimates predict this prevents around 1000 rabies infections a year. A natural remedy for a real problem has already been secretly saving lives, and now research has shown it, steps can be taken to help it along.
How would you feel about letting your children play outside if you knew there were leopards prowling the streets? Any more fearful than with rabid dogs? I'm not sure. If a person is brought up with these things as the norm, then it simply is a matter of life like a fast moving truck. We generally know how to avoid them.
Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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