In an investigation of almost two years carried out in 19 of the 20 localities of Bogotá, the District Institute for Animal Protection and Welfare (IDPYBA) characterized for the first time the abundance and population density of roaming dogs in the capital.
After the socialization of the study, carried out on August 17, it was learned that there are 66,467 roaming dogs, to which a non-invasive evaluation of health and behaviour was carried out with the collaboration of 352 humans who walked and travelled about 2,669 km of the streets of the city.
The worrying figure reveals that Bogotá, which has a total area of 1,775 km², has approximately 165 roaming animals per km². The category of “roaming dogs” refers to canines that at the time of observation were on public roads and without direct or indirect control by humans. According to their behaviour, socialization and bond with humans, the study further divided them into four subpopulations: stray domestic dogs, community domestic dogs, semi-feral dogs and feral dogs.
Most of the stray dogs were adult, medium-sized, mongrel, non-sterilized males. They were characterized as domestic because they show a bond and socialization with human beings, being largely dependent on food and survival, the study indicates.
To estimate the abundance and population density of canines, distance sampling with a linear transect was used, which, although it has been generally used to estimate the population of wild animals, has proven to be a method that provides reliable and accurate results. Currently, few studies have explored and implemented this population dynamics in roaming dogs, the first was done in the Philippines, later in India and also in Quito, Ecuador. This places Bogotá as a pioneer in the country and second in Latin America to apply this new methodology.
“The conclusions of this study will mark a new dynamic in the management of stray dogs and will serve as an example for the rest of the country,” said Adriana Estrada, director of IDPYBA.
This study contributes to compliance with Article 6 of Decree 538 of 24 and constitutes an important starting point for decision-making at the district level on the development of actions and strategies that prioritize resources for animal protection and welfare.
The localities that require urgent attention as they show that they have the highest density of roaming canines are: Ciudad Bolívar, Usme, Bosa, Kennedy, San Cristóbal, Rafael Uribe Uribe and Suba.
“This first study corresponds to urban areas of our city with some very interesting results. With these data we are going to be able to make a whole series of decisions in public policy of campaigns, for example, educational ones”, specified Natalia Parra, deputy director of culture and citizen participation of the IDPYBA.
Stray dog population management programs aim to reduce population size, maintain individuals in good health and well-being, and minimize the impact on public health and ecosystems.
From SOS Animals Colombia we see the publication of this document with specific figures and statistics as a positive advance, we hope that it represents the beginning of what will be better management, planning and investment of resources and that it can soon be replicated in the rest of the country.