South Africa’s last free-roaming Wild Dogs

It is not well known that Africa’s wild dogs are under threat. In fact, they are so threatened that there is only one free roaming wild pack left in South Africa. What this means is that these dogs were not reintroduced into the wild after rehabilitation, they were not bread in captivity and they did not escape from an enclosure. They are Wild Dog which are born and raised in the wild.

Wild Dogs have come under threat because they are carnivorous hunters who like to roam and hunt. This has resulted in a lot of conflict between farmers of large herbivorous and bovine animals and the African Wild Dog and it is understandable that a farmer may resort to drastic action to curb his livestock losses caused by the Wild Dog. Sadly though, the steps taken by farmers to protect their livestock have in many cases, been sinister and violent acts. There are reports of Wild Dogs being poisoned and even deliberately, run over by vehicles.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) established the Carnivore Conservation Program which has the sole aim of preserving the last free-roaming pack of Wild Dogs in South Africa. Through the efforts of the EWT and the Carnivore Conservation Program (CCP), two of the Wild Dogs have now been collared and can be remotely monitored. By monitoring the pack, the EWT are able to learn more about the pack, where they roam. Being able to track the pack means funds can be generated through eco-tourism, and part of these funds are paid to landowners who prioritise the protection of Wild Dog on their property. Outside of this the CCP is able to inform landowners when the pack is on their land thereby allowing the landowner to be prepared for their arrival and not have to resort to violent methods in order to protect his livestock.

This particular pack is made up of 11 animals and is truly genetically unique from all other Wild Dogs throughout the country. It is no surprise that real efforts are being made to protect them and that the conservation of this last free-roaming pack is a top priority.

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