Jul 2022

Green Mandate EP. 5- ‘Managing Feral Dogs in Wildlife Habitats’ in conversation with Dr. Abi Tamim Vanak

Friday, 29 Jul 2022, 4:00 pm-Friday, 29 Jul 2022, 5:00 pm

The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and Rainmatter Foundation invite you to the THE GREEN MANDATE EP. 5, on ‘MANAGING FERAL DOGS IN WILDLIFE HABITATS’ in conversation with noted ecologist Dr. Abi Tamim Vanak.

About Managing Feral Dogs in Wildlife Habitats

Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) were among the first domesticated animals in the history of human civilization. Initially, dogs were kept as hunting allies, herders of livestock, and guards against predators. In modern society, dogs also serve several social purposes like assisting the police, serving people with disability, and general companionship.  However, when neglected or no longer needed, dogs often become feral or free roaming. Such a feral population of dogs harass, chase, and kill endemic wildlife species and compete with other wild carnivores like wolves, snow leopards, brown bears, etc. While the mere presence of dogs can drive away some native wildlife, it also leads to increased human-wildlife conflicts in some landscapes. Dogs also carry diseases like rabies, parvovirus, and canine distemper virus- which can lead to a significant decline in the population of endangered wildlife. Due to such a large impact on native species, the free-ranging domestic dogs are referred to as one of the most dangerous invasive species across the world. 

India is home to about 60 million of the world’s estimated 1 billion dogs. A 2018 study reported that domestic dogs are known to attack 80 wildlife species in India, out of which 31 are listed as threatened and 4 as critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, the issue of feral dogs is still overlooked by the government with no sufficient legal and policy level interventions to manage feral dogs in wildlife habitats. 

In this episode of The Green Mandate, we will be discussing the concern of the feral dogs toward Indian wildlife in detail and possible interventions to manage the same. 

About the Speaker

Dr. Abi T Vanak is a Professor level faculty in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation and interim Director of the Centre for Policy Design at ATREE. Dr Vanak is an ecologist with broad interests in animal movement ecology, disease ecology, savanna ecosystems and wildlife in human-dominated systems. Subsequent to completing his PhD in the USA and post-doc in South Africa, studying the movement ecology of elephants, large African carnivores and savanna ecosystem dynamics, Dr Vanak returned to India in 2012. Since then his research has included projects on the conservation of semi-arid savanna grasslands in peninsular India and the adaptation of mesocarnivores to human-dominated landscapes. Dr Vanak’s interests in disease ecology led him to explore the dynamics of pathogen transmission between domestic animals and native wildlife using the OneHealth framework. He is currently focussing on improving policies for domestic dog management, restoration ecology and OneHealth in India.


29th July 2022,  Friday, 16.00-17.00 HRS (IST)

16.00 hrs: Introduction

16.10 hrs: Discussion with Dr Vanak

16.50 hrs: Q&A Session with Audience

The event is open for all, but prior registration on Zoom is recommended. You can also send your questions for Dr Vanak in advance to be considered during  the live discussion to environment@vidhilegalpolicy.in. 

About The Green Mandate

The UNEP Global Report on Environmental Rule of Law observed that despite a 38-fold increase in environmental laws worldwide since 1972, the greatest challenge to environmental protection remained partial enforcement and implementation. 

India, a megadiverse country with 10 biogeographic zones and 4 biodiversity hotspots, is also the second most populous country in the world. The future of India’s natural heritage depends greatly on how we conserve and manage our natural resources and wildlife today. This not only requires the current laws to be firm, but also for the policy framework to remain dynamic and responsive to the new and emerging challenges. 

Further, a nuanced understanding of the implementation challenges at the ground, regularly evaluating the impact of any new amendments to the laws, attending to the neglected aspects of the regulatory framework and contemplating the drivers which influence the law and policy making are some of the critical actions which are required on part of the state as well as the civil society.

THE GREEN MANDATE provides a platform for an in-depth conversation on such issues affecting current conservation challenges and aims at developing a deeper public discourse on the law and policy aspects of it. (Watch previous episodes of The Green Mandate).

The Climate and Ecosystems team at Vidhi is supported by Rainmatter Foundation and Sandeep Singhal.