Sat, Nov 10, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Yushan park encourages public to report stray dogs

VULNERABILITIES:The call was prompted by reports of stray dogs attacking indigenous wildlife and the danger of abandoning domesticated animals in the national park

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Two stray dogs walk across an open space at Yushan National Park’s Tataka Saddle on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of Yushan National Park Administration Office

Stray dogs have been spotted in Yushan National Park at elevations of 3,700m and have been seen attacking Reeves’ muntjacs that live on the mountain, park officials said.

The park office is cautioning the public not to abandon pets in the park and is asking people who see strays on Yushan to notify park officials.

Officials said the strays were detected by cameras installed at the Tataka Visitor Center and have also been picked up by infrared cameras installed throughout the park.

There might be a connection between the stray animal euthanasia ban that went into effect in February last year and pets being abandoned in the park, the officials said.

Introducing domesticated animals into the country’s national parks could impact the wildlife living there, they said, adding that 90 percent of the nation’s indigenous wildlife is found in the parks.

As many as 700,000 people pass through the visitor center each year, many of whom bring pets with them, the park said.

Those pets that get abandoned often get into fights with wildlife living in the park, scratching or biting them, and sometimes passing on foreign diseases to them, they added.

A Reeves’ muntjac that was attacked by a pack of stray dogs last year was only saved because park visitors saw the attack and scared off the dogs, the park said.

The visitors brought the injured muntjac in a cardboard box to the office to be treated, the park said.

The park also reminded visitors that pets are not allowed within protected areas of the national parks, including wildlife conservation areas and protected historical sites, and that under no circumstances should park visitors feed wild animals.

Pet dogs that have not received rabies shots should not be brought into the park to prevent the spread of the disease, the park said.

Pets in the park must be kept on leashes and not allowed to leave their owners’ sight for the protection of both pets and their owners, the park said.

Visitors should clean up all food waste, as wild animals are particularly sensitive to food smells and the waste would attract them to areas frequented by visitors, the park said.

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