HYDERABAD: Two stray dogs had the forest department staff and residents of an entire village near Shamshabad on tenterhooks for close to ten days as three cattle-calf kills were reported from the village.
Villagers had raised an alarm regarding the kills that they might be due to a wild animal on prowl and rumours spread quick that a leopard is prowling.As complaints by villagers reached forest department, nine cages with live baits and 30 camera traps were immediately set up around the village and in forest area close to the village, said Vinod Kumar, district forest officer, Rangareddy.
Kumar said, “We observed pug marks which were a little washed-off due to rains. The pug marks confirmed that the animal was not a leopard. Looking at pug marks we suspected the animal to be either a hyena or a wolf.” Nothing was caught in the cages for a week since forest department set them up. However, when the forest department officials observed camera trap photos recorded for about a week, they were shocked.
Kumar said, “Looking at the camera trap photos, we observed that two stray dogs regularly made appearances. There was no citing of any wild animal and it was only these stray dogs which were getting captured in the camera traps. The pug marks were also of an animal belonging to dog family. So, we concluded that it was these dogs that were killing the cattle. The dogs did not get caught in the cages set by us. We will be removing the cages and camera traps in a couple of days.”
A Shankaran, OSD(Wildlife), Telangana forest department said, “Such instances do occur but they are rare. When dogs are not in touch with humans or do not have owners, they turn to hunting for food.”
It may be recalled, that many incidents occurred at the University of Hyderabad wherein stray dogs attacked and killed spotted deer and wild boar for food.