In recent years, Bhutan has also gained recognition for its innovative approach to dog population management.
In 2009, Bhutan launched the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project (NADPM&RCP) in partnership with Humane Society International (HSI). The goal of the project was to sterilize and vaccinate all free-roaming dogs in the country, thereby reducing the number of unwanted puppies and preventing the spread of rabies.
The NADPM&RCP was a resounding success. By 2023, the project had sterilized and vaccinated over 150,000 dogs, effectively eliminating the free-roaming dog population in Bhutan. This achievement makes Bhutan the first country in the world to achieve 100% sterilization of its free-roaming dog population.
How did Bhutan do it?
There are a number of factors that contributed to Bhutan’s success. First, the project was guided by a strong commitment to animal welfare. The government and HSI worked together to develop a humane and sustainable approach to dog population management.
Second, the project was well-funded and well-resourced. The government of Bhutan and HSI invested significant resources in the project, which enabled them to hire and train a team of experienced veterinarians and animal handlers.
Third, the project was implemented with a strong community outreach component. The project team worked with local communities to educate them about the importance of dog population management and to encourage them to participate in the project.
Fourth, the project was flexible and adaptable. The project team was able to adjust their strategies as needed to address the challenges they faced.
The benefits of 100% sterilization of Bhutan’s free-roaming dog population
The benefits of Bhutan’s achievement are numerous. First, the project has significantly improved the welfare of dogs in Bhutan. By sterilizing and vaccinating dogs, the project has reduced the number of unwanted puppies and prevented the spread of rabies.
Second, the project has improved public health. By eliminating the free-roaming dog population, Bhutan has reduced the risk of dog bites and rabies transmission.
Third, the project has benefited the environment. By reducing the number of stray dogs, Bhutan has helped to protect wildlife and reduce the spread of diseases.
What can other countries learn from Bhutan’s success?
Bhutan’s success is a model for other countries that are struggling to manage their dog populations. Other countries can learn from Bhutan’s experience by:
- Developing a humane and sustainable approach to dog population management
- Investing in dog population management programs
- Implementing a strong community outreach component
- Being flexible and adaptable in their approach
Bhutan’s achievement is a testament to the power of compassion and collaboration. By working together, Bhutan has shown that it is possible to manage dog populations in a way that is humane, effective, and sustainable.