The positive benefits of tourism are obviously unarguable. Bringing increased material wealth, better material standards of living and infrastructure upgrades are spin-offs when millions of foreigners arrive in paradise. Whether such changes benefit the whole or not is something that only history in its own time will hand down its verdict on. For now the chatter is firmly entrenched in the lofty regions, the realms reserved for politicians, statisticians and those with vested interests.
There was a time when The Bali Street Dog was without title, a time when it was just a dog, when it was just Anjing. Back there somewhere when it was just a part of everyday life on Bali, a time when it was just doing what it was designed to do. Doing its job of guarding the family compound controlling the pest population and cleaning up anything remotely edible around the place. The ancient Anjing roamed free in a tropical paradise of sun, sea and Sawah, living a symbiotic existence with people.
It is impossible to know when tourism began to affect its life and movements. But it is possible to see now, how much the effect of tourism is having in forcing them to migrate further and further out and away. As simplicity gives way to increasing complexity and modernity, Anjing Bali struggles to adjust to a concrete jungle devoid of the familiarity that has enabled it to remain stable and sure. The Bali Street Dog is now finding it harder to stay on streets that are frequented by tourists who see them as an inconvenience rather than a part of this island.
Unfortunately it appears that a growing number of tourists do not like to see Anjing Bali roam free. They feel that they are stray and uncared for, see them as lost and in need of a home and demand that they are given care, the type of care prescribed within their own cultural context.
Unfortunately tourist operators respond to these complaints by ‘removing’ the dogs. As a result over the past few years tourists have been known to comment that ‘Bali is so much better now because there is much less dogs’, as if this is a good thing for the dogs. The message received by the people of Bali is that tourists do not like to see Anjing Bali, so therefore they must be removed.
The reduction in dog numbers might make a holiday paradise a more palatable environment for an ever increasing tourist presence, but for the Dog of Bali it has begun to beat the drum to its potential doom.