The Grapevine

Dog Overpopulation: A Threat To Wildlife?

Stray dogs are common in almost all parts of the world. Either born as a stray or abandoned by their former owners, these dogs roam the streets to fend for themselves. Some even get adopted, while some are content to feed off leftovers left by people who know they’re around.

With the exception of the ones that turn rabid due to disease, stray dogs are usually left alone and pose no threat to society, same with some birds and stray cats. However, according to Majid Kharrazian-Moqaddam, director of the wildlife conservation and management at the Department of Environment, the population of stray dogs should be controlled, lest they pose some problems to the societies they live in.

“We classified dog in three categories of pets, herd dogs and feral ones which have never been owned,” Kharrazian-Moqaddam noted, adding that with the exception of the African wild dog, these stray canines are generally tame.

He also noted that feral dogs are one of the main culprits behind dog overpopulation. Furthermore, he explained that by nature, feral dogs have a tendency to wipe out the prey of their rival wild species, such as wolves, cheetahs and leopards. This upsets the ecological balance of habitats, as well as the food chain.

Additionally, feral dogs can also spread disease through bites, meaning that there’s also a need to vaccinate them. As a result, related organizations and municipalities are being called to take some action in controlling their population.

Threat to Society

According to a report published back in February 2019, dogs have become the third worst human-introduced predators, coming after cats and rats. That’s because they are responsible for contributing to the extinction of around one dozen animal species.

Feral dogs are also said to threaten more or less 200 species of animals worldwide. Some of these are critically endangered.

At the moment, it’s estimated that there are more or less one billion domestic dogs worldwide, and their situation ranges from being dependent on humans to being free-ranging and feral. The percentage of free-ranging dogs in that number is unknown, although conservationists believe that it’s rising.

stray dog Image REUTERS/Handout .