Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
12 Nov 2019
1:31 pm

African Wild Dogs reintroduced to Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park

Citizen Reporter

A partnership between conservationists and the park has resulted in the largest African Wild Dog reintroduction programme yet.

Two packs of African Wild Dogs have been successfully reintroduced to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, and are going strong. Image: iStock

A successful partnership between conservation organisation Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)-partnered Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW) and conservation group Wildlife ACT last year has resulted in the successful reintroduction of African Wild Dogs in the once war-torn region of Mozambique, they said in a media release last week.

Gorongosa National Park worked tirelessly with stakeholders, and received funding by entrepreneur and philanthropist Gregg Carr, to restore the once-thriving flora and fauna of the park.

A pack of 14 African Wild Dogs from Zululand were relocated to Gorongosa National Park in 2018, which resulted in a thriving population of 28 pups.

But, due to the size of Gorongosa, more than one pack of African Wild Dog would be required to create a viable population, which was why a second pack, which brings with it fresh genes, was necessary.

EWT, the Carr Foundation and the Bateleurs subsequently sourced another 15-strong pack of African Wild Dogs from the Khamab Kalahari Game Reserve.

EWT Wild Dog expert Cole du Plessis and veterinarian Dr Rowan Leeming escorting the African Wild Dog pack to Gorongosa National Park. Image: Supplied

After an immense team effort, complete with EWT Wild Dog expert Cole du Plessis and veterinarian Dr Rowan Leeming, the pack was successfully sedated to be transported to Polokwane, and from there to Gorongosa. Swift action on arrival with the help of Gorongosa rangers meant the dogs were rushed into their new holding boma, and were awake and lively within minutes of arriving at the national park.

Du Plessis explained how important it was that the second pack helped restore the population in the region.

“These African Wild Dogs are the pioneers that will restore Gorongosa’s Wild Dog population and set a blueprint for future restoration projects.

“This species is still considered endangered, but success stories such as this bring hope for their preservation.”

Thanks to South Africa’s increasing Wild Dog population, it is now possible that other southern African regions can benefit by having their populations restored as well.

Their new home in the Gorongosa National Park was considered a “recoverable” site, after it was revealed in 2016 that the African Wild Dog was considered “extirpated” in 25 of the 39 countries they once roamed freely in.

Just two years ago, there were no African Wild Dogs in Gorongosa, but after reintroductions, their population is thriving and now sits at 57.

(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)

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