Wild dog numbers in Mana Pools Park lowest in a decade

Posted by Anita Froneman on 22 July 2020

The African wild dog is one of the world’s most endangered animals. In Mana Pools National Park in the north of Zimbabwe, there are only approximately 20 dogs left. This is the lowest number in the park in 10 years.

The Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) is a non-profit organisation working to protect the wild dogs of Zimbabwe, where there are currently fewer than 700 of these animals, according to PDC. Wild dogs are also known as painted dogs or painted wolves.

Wild dog numbers in Mana Pools Park lowest in a decade

The wild dog population is extremely vulnerable.

‘We are endeavouring to unravel the possible reasons why this is the case through our research collaborations with Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) and Stanford University,’ PDC said in a statement.

‘But that takes time, literally years. We are witnessing inbreeding for the first (accurately recorded) time. Thus the painted dog population in Mana Pools is more vulnerable than ever before.

‘While it is likely that multiple factors are causing this decline, many outside our control such as competition from larger predators and even climate change, there are possible factors we can control,’ the statement continues.

‘Visiting den sites and thus harassing the dog’s is one such factor. Sadly unethical operators visit den sites morning and afternoon, taking chairs in to sit and observe the dogs, getting far too close.

‘It’s been done before, I’ve done it myself (though not sat in a chair!) and seemingly has no impact on the pack. But the current situation warrants a change in behaviour. Happily, the majority of ethical, professional operators respect the dogs and give them space. We are recommending to Zimparks that no one visits a den site.’

Some new arrivals in the Park might be a welcome boost to the dwindling numbers. The Mpindo pack, relocated from the Mpindo area, consists of 19 members and will be released soon.

A great boost for the Mana Pools painted dog population is loading. The Mpindo pack is currently composed of nineteen…

Posted by Painted Dog Conservation on Tuesday, 14 July 2020

‘There is no fixed date [for their release] yet. We had scheduled it for end of July but we are considering moving the date to early September to allow the new pups to grow more and have a better chance of survival in the wild,’ PDC told Getaway Magazine.

To find out more about the work PDC is doing or make a contribution, visit here.

Image credit: Unsplash



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