Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Exotic dogs damaging Dokdo's native wildlife

Update: GI Korea disagrees with me on the subject. I think our two opinions are on opposites of the single incident/slippery slope divide. He sees the problem as simply being two pets while I see the dogs as a contributor, along with increased tourism, increased littering from tourism, increased fishing in the area, etc, to real long-term damage to the ecosystem.

In Korea, if you ask about dogs, after hearing about recipes, you will next hear about the Jindo, a dog founded and raised on the island of the same name. Today, I have learned of another national dog, the Sapsaree, a variety of poodle.

These are lucky dogs. Most dogs, even the wonderful, intelligent, loyal Jindo, typically live in cages or on leashes one metre long. Sapsaree owners seem to allow their dogs more freedom.
For example, the Kyoungsangbuk police station on Dokdo was given a dozen sapsaree, as a blending of national symbols; the island and the dog. They apparently have the run of the island and are eating the seabirds and their eggs. Ironically, one of the seabirds, the black-tailed gull is also a national treasure.

The title says 'exotic dogs' and yet I am talking about a national symbol. As far as the island of Dok is concerned, they are exotic, as exotic as cats or dogs on Guam, cats on the Poor Knights, on Madagascar, etc. The police on Dokdo need to remember that their job is to protect Dokdo, not, even accidentally, kill the wildlife.

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