Following extensive preparations by the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, WildlifeACT and their partners in the KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Management Group, the release of African Wild Dogs Lycaon pictus into Tembe Elephant Park (TEP) in January this year was an exciting new addition to South Africa’s network of Wild Dog metapopulation reserves. The metapopulation strategy manages packs in smaller fenced game reserves throughout the country as a larger collective population, to maintain genetic diversity and population persistence.
Although the Tembe pack quickly adapted to their new conditions, several of the adult males were killed by lions since their reintroduction. However, the good news is that the alpha female denned down towards the end of May. Although she chose a section of the reserve that is known for its high lion density, recent photographs taken by the camera traps set up by the WildlifeACT monitoring team show that at least six pups have survived. The pack, including the pups, currently stands at 15 animals.
The TEP reintroduction has the potential to expand into the recently proclaimed Tembe-Futi Transfrontier Park and is a significant step for THE CONSERVATION OF South Africa’s rarest carnivore.
The project to expand and understand the current range of Wild Dogs through the diverse landscape of northern KwaZulu-Natal is carried out through a partnership between the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the KZN Wild Dog Management Group, Wildlife ACT and Rhodes University, supported by Wildlands Conservation Trust, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and Land Rover South Africa.