Wild Pikas!

The Large-eared pika (Ochotona macrotis) is one of several wild and native animals that live on the edge of human settlements in Nepal Himalaya. The quiet animals were surprisingly social, and were observed "playing" together (or they could have been fighting) in open grass plots between rosehip hedges. We were in Manang to conduct the Nepal's first canine distemper survey in the Himalaya. Over two lovely evenings, our entire team were privileged to have the company of these pikas as we walked through fields of wild rose hips on the way back to our guesthouse. (Above: A pika feeds fastidiously on fresh greens) Pikas may look like rodents but they are in fact a relative of rabbits - both rabb

Tashi: the dog that got away!

He was the sweetest dog when he didn't have a muzzle. He loved the doggie treats we held out toward him. He was compliant when he didn't have his arm stretched out toward the vet. But he wouldn't give us the 3mL of blood that we needed. If you are a dog owner, you might already know this - dogs can pick up on their owners' anxiety. We think that this might have been why Tashi, a 12-year old retired herding dog, got really nervous and agitated when our vets made attempts to collect a blood sample. He would snarl and growl when we held out his front leg. As our syringe approached his leg, he would wriggle desperately to free himself. (Top: Dr Gim and vet technician, Jules, removing fur matts f

Nepal's first canine distemper survey in the Himalaya

Thanks to a grant from the National Geographic Society, we had the fantastic opportunity to build upon our neutering and anti-rabies vaccination program, and conduct Nepal's very first canine distemper survey in the Himalaya! Residents of Annapurna Conservation Area, and members of our team reported seeing dogs with signs of canine distemper over the years. Finally, this grant has enabled us to investigate distemper in the Himalaya. Last month, our team collected blood samples from over 80 dogs across Nepal's Upper Manang District for analysis, results from the study will be released later this year. (Below: Ajay Narsingh Rana (left) and Mukhiya Gotame round up a group of young pups in Bh

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