Tuesday, September 23, 2008

who feed the strays at sungei buloh?

if you visit sungei buloh often enough, you will know that a pack of stray dogs roam free in the reserve. most of the times, they try to avoid contact with humans. maybe they can sense that they are not welcome company at the reserve. the people at the reserve have been using baited cages to try and trap these dogs. so, most of the times, when they see people, they will move away quietly and quickly.

i often wondered what was sustaining the many stray dogs at the sungei buloh wetland reserve. there are no houses within the wetland, only on the fringe of it and that is beyond the fence. with no houses, it means no leftovers for the dogs. so, in the wild, what do they feed on. i suppose there is enough wildlife in the reserve to serve as food for the dogs.

the national park board advises visitors who encounter the stray dogs at the wetland to leave them alone. the second advice is a bit difficult to follow: it says avoid showing signs of fear. i believe dogs can read body language and when they sense that you are scared of them, they will become bolder and more aggressive. by the way, the dogs at the wetland all look lean and hungry.

today, i found out a source of food for the dogs. it was low tide and there were hundreds of fish - most of them milkfish - at this small bay near the wetland. four light brown dogs were there and one of them - the one nearest to the camera - was having a meal of raw fish.

just a few days ago, i was watching the same pack of dogs foraging for something in the ground. one of the dogs was excitedly using its front paws to scrape the earth from a depression in the ground. it must have seen or detected some creature in a burrow. according to information on the sungei buloh wetland reserve web-site, the dogs do harass the wildlife in the wetland.

each time i get close to nature, i am learning new things. today, for example, i learn that dogs can hunt for fish and they do eat the fish that they catch. all these years, i have associated fish with cats and bones with dogs. today, i learn something new: dogs do eat fish, even raw ones.

i spotted the otters of sungei buloh again today. there were two of them and i watched them enjoying a good rub against the sand on the sand-spit. after the sand massage, they swam up the sungei buloh kechil.

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