Coast KZN

03 May 2021

New wild dog pack released into Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Reece Reid (Zululand Observer) Picture: Freedom - the painted dogs are released from the boma

Excitement ruled at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP) recently as a new pack of nine African wild dogs was released into the reserve. Wildlife ACT, a non-profit conservation organisation, managed the release and will continue to monitor the pack.

The release is an important milestone in the conservation of this endangered species, also known as painted dogs, as they are the most endangered carnivore in South Africa.  Of the estimated 3 000 to 5 000 painted dogs left in the wild, fewer than 550 are located in South Africa.

Wildlife ACT’s Jarryd Foster led the release of the ‘Mbulunga pack’ from the boma – an important part of the process to ensure all the dogs exit the boma with minimal stress. The five males and four females were all fitted with tracking collars, allowing for the collection of valuable data to inform decision-making relating to the species’ conservation.

HiP was chosen as the first reserve to reintroduce wild dogs in 1980 owing to its size – 90 000 hectares at the time. Since then, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has enjoyed great success in boosting the wild dogs’ numbers.

‘Ezemvelo’s dedication to the protection of these species has not only played a critical role in their conservation in KZN, but has also boosted their numbers in other protected areas through translocation and the sharing of expertise.

‘The release of this new pack is yet another success story of Ezemvelo’s continued commitment to the protection of the African wild dog and all other endangered species,’ said Amos Tembe, Law Enforcement Manager at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

Following their release, the Mbulunga pack moved north into the Hluhluwe section of the park.

Wildlife ACT’s monitoring teams based in Hluhluwe and iMfolozi will continue to work closely alongside Ezemvelo management to monitor the progress of this pack.