South Africa: Completed projects

Kruger National Park Wild Dog Photographic Census 1998, 2000, 2005, 2009

The Kruger National Park is home to one of the last viable populations of wild dogs in South Africa. An understanding of population dynamics in the park is essential for developing national strategies to improve the conservation status of these species. A novel approach has been developed to estimate populations of wild dogs (and now cheetah) in the park. As individuals have unique coat patterns the identification of individuals from photographs is possible. Visitors are asked to send their photographs in to researchers so that individuals can be identified, counted and the overall population size estimated.
For more information on the project EWT website

Marakele Wild Dog Project 2003 – 2007

Marakele National Park is part of a tripartite contractual agreement between SANParks and two private concerns, namely; Welgevonden Private Game Reserve and Marakele Park Pty Ltd. At the time of introduction of wild dogs to Marakele no lions were present in the area. After several wild dog breakouts and increasing pressure from neighbouring land owners the wild dogs were permanently removed from Marakele in 2007.
For more information on the project EWT website

Venetia Limpopo Wild Dog Project 2002 – 2010

The De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province formed part of the metapopulation. The wild dog population in Venetia fluctuated between five and 27 individuals in one to two packs. Between 2002 and 2006 a multidisciplinary study was conducted to examine the demography, biology, ecology and socio-economics of conserving wild dogs on small reserves. During 2006 the project expanded its scope to incorporate a study that examined two critical components of wild dog behavioural ecology: pup provisioning and pack formation. Recent research also examined the impacts of protected area expansion on wild dog ecology.
For more information on the project EWT website

The Zululand Wild Dog Conservation and Management Programme. 1997 – 2006

The main objective was to improve the conservation status of wild dogs in Zululand. Other goals were:
1) To continue to determine the status and pack forming dynamics of wild dogs in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, especially the wild dogs reintroduced in 1997, 2001 and 2003,
2) To determine, by collaborating with other researchers, the role lions and spotted hyaenas play in the conservation of wild dogs in small conservation areas,
3) To understand the factors that promotes wild dog health, reproductive success and pack survival.
4) To determine the status of wild dog conservation outside Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.
5) To continue to foster positive relations with local communities through communication, education and capacity building initiatives with regard to wild dogs and other carnivore conservation issues.
6) To raise awareness of the links between conservation and tourism and specifically the tourism value of wild dogs – thus promoting a positive image to support their conservation.
7) To investigate how best to reintroduce wild dogs into small reserves.
8) To contribute, through the Wild Dog Advisory Group meetings, to the planning of the wild dog metapopulation. Although the programme has evolved into others and we are no longer formally active in the field we still have much to publish and contribute. This work has been widely published (see: for a list of publications).