The yak herders of Soe village, in the foothills of Mt. Jomolhari, face challenges such as human-wildlife conflict, which affect certain aspects of the community’s livelihood. While this challenge in the region is inevitable, another emerging concern for the community is gid disease, a type of tapeworm that is carried and spread through local dogs. The tapeworm becomes a cyst (Coenurus cerebralis) either in the brain or the spinal cord of the yaks, resulting in a slow and agonizing death. To reduce loss of livestock and enhance support for snow leopard conservation in the region, the Bhutan Foundation has been closely working with the community of Soe village since 2013 to build capacity of community health workers and local community members in livestock management. In 2013, the prevalence of gid disease in Soe village was 34.06%, and in 2015, this was reduced to 7.7%.
From January 7–12, 2016, 28 members of the Soe community were trained in livestock management to increase knowledge on basic animal health treatments for wounds, fractures, and abscesses; to increase understanding of pasture development, feeding management, and breed improvement; and, more importantly, to increase understanding of the prevention and cure of gid disease. This training is the third in a series for the Soe community members in addition to awareness campaigns on gid disease. The training was led by the livestock officer of Soe village, Namgay, and in partnership with the Department of Livestock under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.