Within a mere four months of developing this idea, we launched our pilot project into the Himalaya in May 2014. It does take a little crazy to do something like that! But it also requires a hell lot of resourcefulness and discipline! Together with our partner NGO (HART), we visited nine villages in the Himalayan District of Manang, and successfully vaccinated and neutered 158 dogs, and delivered vaccinations-only to an additional 43 that could not be neutered at this time. Locals were a little afraid of the idea initially, as surgery for dogs was unheard of. After observing how simple the procedure was, and watching dogs up on their feet soon after surgery, helped to boost their confidence in trusting what we were doing. Locals from other districts who encountered our camp encouraged us to visit their districts as well, as they too are struggling to manage their dog population.
Long-term sterilisation efforts in Nepal’s hill and low-lying districts have proven that sustained sterilisation efforts in a focussed area is effective in reducing community dog populations. One procedure takes just 30 minutes but remains effective for a dog’s lifetime, as long as 7-10 years in the Himalaya. We want to mobilise a veterinary team into the Himalaya each year, for a period of three years for each district. It is essential that we return to sterilise and vaccinate the animals consistently, as dogs left un-neutered repopulate rapidly.
Most importantly, we want the communities we worked with this year to recognise that our efforts are not fly-by-night, and that we want to continue to work together until our surveys indicate that dog populations are on the decline.