Collaring date: 8th October 2021
Wild Dogs were first moved back into the Lapalala Waterberg area in 2020 when 10 adult wild dogs, notably one of the last free-roaming packs of the Waterberg, were successfully captured and relocated to a holding facility on the Lapalala Reserve. In the reserve they are safe from pervasive threats such as hunting, poisons, road collisions, snaring and habitat loss, which have over the years reduced the population to near extinction.
The dogs adapted quickly in the boma at Lapalala and within a few weeks a litter of pups was born. The eleven pups, alongside the 10 adults were released into the reserve. Scientific monitoring of the pack helped to secure the future conservation of the species, particularly in the Waterberg. Data was collected of their movement patterns, habitat utilisation, and population demographics, and toavoid snaring and poaching incidents and breakouts.
Our Collaring Operation
The first relocation into Lapalala was a great success and so when the EWT rescued 2 free-roaming male wild dogs in August 2021 that had entered into an area populated by humans, Lapalala came to mind as a great place to relocate them to. The rescued dogs were darted and moved into a large enclosure/ boma on Lapalala Wilderness, where they were held few months to allow them to settle into the area and their new safe home. The problem with these 2 males was that unless there is a female in the pack, the dogs would likely leave the reserve in search for a female elsewhere. So, a female wild dog was selected from the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi area and moved up to Lapalala, in an attempt to bond the pack and stabilise them.
This bonding process is a slow one but began with having the dogs in separate bomas along side each other so that the dogs can get used to each other from a safe distance. When they start lying next to the fence to be near one another, the next step is to dart them all, and physically rub them together to get each dogs smell on the other, which has the effect of making them feel part of the same pack! This actually works! The bonding process between the female and the 2 males couldn’t have gone better and they were all introduced to the same boma on the 17th September2021.
On 8th October 2021, all 3 of the dogs were collared and released (in case they separated after release).Two of the collars were donated by Zoological Society of London and WWW (with thanks to our donor Mr Boivin) donated the third collar.
Post Operation Update
The operation went extremely well and the dogs seem to be settling in well on the reserve. The sponsored collars have been proving invaluable in keeping the team updated on their movements and allowing their predator monitor to observe them on a regular basis. They seem to be scent marking very regularly, hopefully a good sign that they are setting up a territory on the reserve.
If you are interested in support wild dog conoservation and donating a wild dog collar, please visit: Shop for Wildlife: Wild Dog Collar