Translocation: Ethics

An appreciation of the intrinsic value of animals should be enough of a reason for human beings to endeavor to ensure humane treatment of animals. Wild dogs are not listed on CITES (as international trade in the species is negligible and does not threaten wild populations) but are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red Data List (2008).

Within the South African wild dog managed metapopulation, individuals are frequently immobilized to translocate, fit or remove collars or take samples. Ethically, wild dogs should only be immobilized for legitimate conservation or management actions. Immobilization of a wild dog can be very stressful for not only the individual but also the pack. Every effort should, therefore, be taken to ensure that disturbance and stress are kept to a minimum. Den sites in particular are very sensitive to disturbance and should be treated with respect and sensitivity.

However, it must be noted that due to the nomadic lifestyle of the wild dog, den sites may sometimes present the only opportunity to collar or capture a dog, especially with packs that are not well-habituated. In such cases extra care should be taken to minimize disturbance as excessive stress levels could force dogs to abandon pups or relocate den sites. As a general rule, a minimum distance of 20 meters from the den site should always be maintained.