DURBAN – Hluhluwe-iMfolozi (HiP) Park launched a newly formed pack of African wild dogs threatened with extinction in the reserve, with the support of Wildlife ACT.
The African Wild Dog, also known as the African Spotted Dog, is one of the most endangered animals in the world.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman Musa Mntambo said the wild dogs were kept together, in a boma at iMfolozi, before being released in the park.
“The females separated (dispersed) from another pack in HiP and the males separated from their pack in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, in the Northern Cape. The Endangered Wildlife Trust, which is one of the partners of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Wildlife ACT within the KZN Wild Dog Management Group, helped to bring the males to HiP, where they were placed in one boma compartment and the females were placed in the other compartment.
“As soon as the monitoring team realized that the groups were relaxed with each other, the gate between the compartments was opened and the animals were able to interact. After the males and females came together to form a new pack, they were released from the boma into the park, ”he said.
Mntambo said: “The idea of forming this flock and releasing it in HiP was to anchor the females that had dispersed from another flock within the park, bringing in new males and uniting the two sex groups to bring new genes into the park, and to reinforce the low number of wild dogs currently in the park, so that the park continues to contribute to the conservation of the species, ”he said.
Mntambo said that wild dogs face many challenges.
“Historically, they were treated like worms and shot at first sight. There are still some people who regard them as worms and illegally destroy them. In addition, they are a kind of pack, from which individuals disperse as they get older or when the pack gets too big, to find their own companions, ”he said.
He added that pitfalls and road accidents also contributed to the reduction in the number of wild dogs.
HiP plans to keep wild dogs indefinitely and manage them so that they can contribute to the conservation of wild dogs in South Africa.
Mntambo said this will include managing their genetic diversity and removing scattered groups of wild dogs from time to time to form new packs in other reserves, both in South Africa and in other southern African countries.
“There is a lot of potential for wild dogs in HiP to breed and grow in number, but they will be managed through translocations to other reserves to ensure that the number of individuals and packs does not exceed the levels determined by management, informed by research and constant monitoring ”Said Mntambo.