Wild Dog Monitoring in Kruger National Park

April 2024
How GPS tracking collars are helping to keep African Wild Dogs safe.

Contemplate Wild, run by Grant Beverly, manages and tracks the African Wild Dog population in the Greater Kruger Area, in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme. Having GPS tracking collars on the Wild Dog packs enables the availability of real-time tracking data. This does not only make it possible to monitor the packs' movements, but also significantly reduces search times when animals with snares are reported. This greatly increases the chances of rescuing these wild dogs and ensuring their survival. The tracking collars also allowed for closer monitoring of animals venturing into high-risk areas or exploring beyond the boundaries of protected conservation areas.

Based on the input by conservation managers about high-risk snaring areas (discovered during ranger patrols or volunteer snare removal campaigns), the team can create snare risk maps. These maps are then compared to the actual movement of packs where snaring incidents have occurred. This enables the tracking team to develop automated alert systems, which send an alert to conservation managers when Wild Dog packs traverse high-risk snaring areas. The ground teams then know to closely monitor these packs for snares with the goal of rescuing any snared, trapped or injured animals.

Although it is challenging to quantify the success of the system, it is worthwhile highlighting that since its deployment in the Greater Kruger Park in late 2020, over 40 wild dogs have received successful treatment for injuries caused by snares. Most recently, in May 2024, the system enabled the team to respond to a pack with four (!) individuals caught in snares!

We funded a collaring operation and monitoring mission with Contemplate Wild as part of a conservation safari designed by Wild Wonderful World Safaris. Our travelers were able to track a pack of Wild Dogs in the Kruger National Park with the Contemplate Wild team. Because of unfavourable circumstances, the team decided that is was not safe to dart the pack to replace the tracking collar at that time. The collar will remain available to replace the current collar on the alpha dog at a later stage.

Click here if you would like to donate a collar to support predator monitoring work.

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