Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Roaming dogs in Bhutan

Strickland, P. (2013). The roaming dogs of Bhutan. Friend or foe?. CAUTHE 2013: Tourism and Global Change: On the Edge of Something Big, 780.

This paper investigates the tourists' viewpoint regarding the stray dog population in the Kingdom of Bhutan. After visiting Bhutan, it is clear that the roaming dog population is extremely large and increasing. The Kingdom of Bhutan has long been regarded as an isolated nation being land locked in the Himalayas until trade opened its borders to other nations including western influences since the coronation of the fourth king in 1974. International tourism has been on a steady increase and has exploded in the last few years (Bhutan Tourism Monitor, 2011). With an increase in disposable food products from other nations, food scraps and rubbish being dumped on the streets from locals, the roaming dogs of Bhutan continue to increase in population especially in cities and the main tourist destinations. The problem is aided by no local veterinary clinics, no laws regarding dog governance and little funding for sterilisation programs by non-government organizations such as Vets Beyond Borders. Using focus groups by international tourists visiting Bhutan, this study highlights the perceptions of tourists regarding the roaming dog population and how it may impact future tourists' experience. The findings indicate mixed viewpoints suggesting the dogs have little impact during the day (friend) but form packs and become aggressive at night leading to a cautious fear and sleep deprivation due to constant loud barking (foe). This research is important as tourists may start to negatively report on their Bhutanese experience due to their perception of the roaming dogs as 67% of surveyed tourists reported that stray dogs were an unreported issue. Future research may compare to other countries that have large roaming dog populations.

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