About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier and birder. 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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

INDogs of Orissa

Last month I went on a week-long trip to Orissa with American anthropologist and photographer Heather Fener. Heather is in India photographing indigenous dogs for a very interesting project. Orissa's remote tribal villages are among the best places to see pure pariah-type dogs so we decided to head there. We were accompanied by Diptiranjan Patra, an enthusiastic young wildlife conservationist who works for the NGO Wild Orissa.

We had some unforgettable experiences including wading across the Khairi river over slippery stones and rocks to reach a village on the other side. And shivering all of one night in a forest lodge thanks to the hopelessly inadequate blankets! Met some memorable characters both human and canine. Like the INDog pair Kuna and Kuni and their owner Arjun. And our extraordinarily garrulous chauffeur who could speak some aboriginal languages as well as Oriya and turned out to be an excellent interpreter. A tribal lady who offered us the local beverage "handiya" (Diptiranjan and I politely declined but Heather drank it and said it tasted like rotten wine!) A group of ex-poachers who have given up their former profession and now work as tour guides in the beautiful birding hotspot Chilika Lake. INDog Tibbu, his goofy girlfriend and their two lovely pups at Labangi in Satkosia Tiger Reserve. Tibbu's owner works at the forest resthouse there and Tibbu is devoted to him and rarely leaves his side. You can see some pictures of him here.

Discussing conservation is not the purpose of this blog, but I must mention that Similipal Tiger Reserve is hardly worth the long journey for people interested in seeing wildlife. Cows, goats and humans seem to be the most numerous and visible species there and they far outnumber the few and petrified wild animals. The impact of humans on the forest is easy to see. The Labangi area of Satkosia was much more rewarding with its magnificent herd of elephants! We were told that the pet dogs bark as a warning when elephants approach the tiny hamlets.

Orissa has an astonishing number of dogs who display the "long-term pariah morphotype." Oddly enough, many such dogs live on the highways not far from Bhubaneshwar. I would have expected to see a lot of mixed-looking dogs so close to Orissa's capital city.

These are some of the pictures I clicked in villages just outside Similipal Tiger Reserve. Some more of my Orissa pictures are in a recent post on male parental care in INDogs - click here.

I can't wait to see Heather's pictures...I'm sure they'll be gorgeous!

Near Similipal Tiger Reserve

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