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Photographer's Note

Recently I posted a photo called Stray dogs in Paro. Here is another one that shows some of the stray dogs roaming the streets of every town in Bhutan, sometimes keeping tourists awake by barking and howling all night long, occasionally attacking late night walkers as they run along the streets in large packs.

So, here is another reminder to the moderators: These dogs are by no means pets, and neither is the cat. They have probably just come to this temple because they know that the Buddhist monks are kind to animals and will probably give them some food.

Possibly the dogs know that they have to behave properly in the temple. Chasing cats in the holy place is not allowed.

This is a small part of a 12th century temple called Changangkha Lhakhang, situated on a hilltop on the outskirts of Bhutan's capital city Thimphu. It is a popular temple where parents come to have their new born babies blessed or to ask the monks to recommend auspicious names.

Two views of the city from the temple grounds can be seen in the workshop. All photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides. Here is a larger version of the main photo.

The coordinates 27.47360 89.62836 will show you this temple. Just click at Map: view.

As for the dogs once again, their numbers increased rapidly in the early years of the century, more or less at the same rate that tourism increased. The more tourists that came to Bhutan, the more scraps from the hotels and restaurants were left in the unprotected garbage bins in the streets, in effect providing the dogs with ever more food.

Only about 6.000 foreign tourists entered Bhutan in 2003, the year of my visit, but by 2017 the number had reached 62.000, in addition to about 156.000 regional visitors (Indians and Bangladeshi who don't need a visa or pre-arranged tours). Something had to be done.

In 2009 the Humane Society International (working globally to protect animals' well-being) estimated there were about 100.000 stray dogs in Bhutan. One year earlier the government had asked the organization for help to handle the problem. A large programme of sterilization started. Indian veterinarians were called in to start training local vets how to catch and sterilize dogs, at the same time giving them rabies vaccine. Up to 2015 about 71.000 dogs had been sterilized and vaccinated.

Workshop #1

Workshop #2

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9620 W: 511 N: 18689] (82756)
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