Wild Dog collared in Mozambique

December 2021
Supporting the Wild Dog Range Expansion Project

Our Wild Dog conservation work focuses on protecting and learning more about these fascinating animals, and is in support of the African Wild Dog Range Expansion Project – which aims to improve wild dog numbers across Africa – increasing biodiversity and genetic strength and re-populating areas where wild dogs have become extinct.

Collaring date: 1st December 2021

A history of Wild Dogs in Karingani

Karingani, located in western Mozambique, is a 150,000ha reserve with conservation at it’s core. No commercial lodges operate here, and the reserve is donor funded with the primary focus of protecting the land, re-establishing biodiversity and supporting local communities.

In 2019, Karingani was identified as an ideal site for an endangered wild dog population reinforcement by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. A pack of wild dogs were introduced into the Karingani landscape. Within the first year, the pack successfully bred and raised puppies! A portion of this pack, combined with dogs from Gorongosa were later moved Majete Wildlife reserve in Malawi, re-introducing Wild dogs into an area where they have not been recorded since 1961.

Our Wild Dog Collaring – the operation

In continued support of this porject and building wild dog numbers in Karingani, we collared a male wild dog from “the Northern Pack” in Karingani to help monitor the packs movement and to ensure they are protected from human wildlife conflict. This pack have arund 28 dogs in it, so it is expected that they will soon split. A young male in this pack was identified, as it is hoped that if they split, the team are still able to monitor all the dogs.

On 1st December, the collar was deployed! Grant flew the helicopter with the wildlife researcher and Mozambican vet on board. The pack, which does have a old VHF collar on the current Alpha male dog, was located from the air using the VHF transmitter. Once located, Grant dropped the Wildlife Vet and researcher Jo on the ground, and they got into position to dart from the ground. Wild Dogs are particularly susceptible to dehydration and with the extreme temperatures here at the moment (35-40 degrees celcius!), they did not want to chase the wild dogs with the helicopter in case they overheated.

Wild Dog’s are very curios and in true character, moved toward the humans on the ground to investigate. The vet took the opportunity to dart and a sub adult male was darted. The operation from there went very well – they had to first relocate the dog after it ran off, but once relocated, they were able to successfully fit the collar! The GPS collar was fitted – not too tight, but not too loose to ensure it doesn’t catch on anything or slip off. The excess collar strap was cut away to prevent anything catching on it. This collar uploads a GPS location via satellite every 6 hours and the location logged on a mapping system for long term monitoring.

Collar fitment complete, the eye cover was removed and reversal drugs administered. In true wild dog style, as soon as he came around, he shot off back into the bush! He quickly re-joined his pack mates who were waiting anxiously nearby.

We followed up on the pack a few days later and located the young collared male with 4 other young males. We aren't sure yet if the pack has split or they were just apart temporarily from the main group, but it was great timing regardless to get that collar fitted!!

This collar was generously donated by Mr Boivin, and was engraved in legacy of his late wife and her love for wild dogs.

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