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By Travel Reporter
In a joint effort by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Lapalala Wilderness Reserve and Tintswalo Lapalala, a free-roaming pack of 10 wild dogs were successfully relocated to Lapalala Wilderness Reserve in the Waterberg in Limpopo.
According to Glenn Phillips, chief executive of Lapalala Wilderness, the dogs, which are currently in a boma on the reserve, have adjusted well.
“The alpha female has produced a litter of pups. The birth of this litter of pups provides a welcome boost to the survival of this endangered species and we look forward to setting them free in the reserve together as a pack when the pups are strong enough, probably around the end of August (2020),” said Phillips.
Travellers can view their antics through a live cam. Wildlife and conservation media company Painted Dog TV has installed bush cameras allowing viewers 24/7 insight into the daily life and behaviour of the pack. Three individual bush cameras have been positioned to focus on the den site, the feeding site and the waterhole.
The African Wild Dog is one of the world’s most endangered mammals. According to the latest estimates, there are only around 6500 individuals left in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, this particular pack had only numbered two individuals.
Since then, the pack has successfully raised two litters in the Vrymanrust area of the Waterberg. Unfortunately, the pack started predating on livestock as there was potentially not sufficient numbers of natural prey in the relatively small area. They were relocated to Waterberg.
“Growing human populations and the shrinking of habitat suitable for endangered species such as wild dog makes this conservation project vital for the survival of the species. Lapalala Wilderness is therefore honoured to be part of such an important conservation project,” said Phillips.
Herman Muller, Biodiversity Manager at Lapalala Wilderness revealed why the wild dogs were kept in the boma: “By keeping the wild dogs in a large holding boma for a few months, we are attempting to break their inherent instinct to return to the area they originated from, as well as teaching the animals to respect electric fences.”
Founded in 1981 by conservation champions, Dale Parker and Clive Walker, the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is one of the largest private reserves in SA.