About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Village dogs of the Satpudas

I took these pictures in villages inside the Bori-Satpuda Tiger Reserve in Central India last month. These villages are really remote, and almost eight hours drive from the town of Amravati. Since it is in the Satpuda mountain range, the road inside the forest is difficult in many places. The villagers are mostly aborigines of the Korku and Gond tribes. And yet the dog populations are not composed only of aboriginal dogs - about fifty per cent are mix-breeds!

Above: I saw this beautiful dog sitting behind a highway "dhaba" (restaurant) on the way back from Bori-Satpuda. INDogs often climb on to high places like walls, unlike most other breeds.

Above: Marking territory

Above: I disturbed his siesta

Above and below: Scenes like this gave me an impression of an idyllic life, specially in the case of the child and pup below.

A closer view of this boy's family completely shattered that illusion. The family are very poor, like most forest-dwellers. He and his little sister are mentally challenged, and have no doubt worsened over the years because they've had no medical attention at all. The smallest sister is a baby and very hard of hearing. They are totally neglected by their mother, who probably started having children at a very early age and pays them little attention except to yell at them once in a while. She had eight children but only four have survived. She told us that she had no time to take her children to a doctor, as she had to work in the fields all day.

Below: Sadly, the pup and the chicken seemed to be the only healthy members of this family (and I shouldn't really describe the poor chicken as a family member). This visit left me uncharacteristically depressed.

Below: Furry mix-breed - like the pup above.

Above and below: This INDog and his family live in a Korku village which has just been resettled outside the tiger reserve. They were in the process of shifting at the time of my visit.

Bori-Satpuda Tiger Reserve,
Madhya Pradesh


Anonymous said...

This post depressed me too.

Its amazing how digs migrate to place even humans dont.

I love the picture of the dog whose sleep you disturbed. The sleeping dog in the background completes the picture.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Hi June,
Dogs don't migrate through tiger/leopard forests. At least, I've never seen dogs wandering in such places unaccompanied by humans.
The presence of mix-breeds in these villages would mean that breeds other than INDogs were actually brought in from outside by villagers. Specially since ownerless dogs on the highways around these forests are very often pure INDogs. For instance all along the highway between Nagpur and the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve I've seen pure INDogs, but in villages inside the reserve there are a lot of mix-breeds.

This has happened a lot in western and central India but in the east (eg in the Sundarbans and Orissa) the remote dog populations are not hybridized - yet.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Re families like this little boy's, there is some kind of silver lining, as all the villages will be resettled out of the forest in the next few years. So they will have easier access to medical care than they do now.