Mkhuze Game Reserve

Mkhuze Game Reserve, located on the coastal plain east of the Lebombo Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, was proclaimed in 1912. Initially a 250 km² reserve, it was expanded to its current size of approximately 370km2. In 1999 the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (renamed isiMangaliso Wetland Park in 2007) was proclaimed a World Heritage Site. In 2000 the World Heritage Site status was extended to include Mkhuze Game Reserve.
An initial wild dog pack of five males, bonded over several months to an adult female and her seven six-month old pups, was released into the reserve in early 2005. Despite several fatal snaring incidents and the loss of individuals through single-sex dispersals and encounters with competing predators, the pack persisted until 2008. In 2008 the remaining six wild dogs were further reduced to a pair due to snaring, predators and a vehicle collision. The remaining two animals included a yearling female which had in 2008 dispersed from Thanda Game Reserve to Mkhuze Game Reserve and an adult male. This pair was placed in the holding boma facility at the Hlambanyathi Private Game Reserve and plans were initiated to source wild dogs for an introduction of two packs into Mkhuze Game Reserve.
In 2010 a pack combined of animals from De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve and Limpopo Lipadi Game Reserve in southern Botswana were bonded, and released into Mkhuze Game Reserve. Initially successful, and despite intensive monitoring and timeous management interventions, this pack suffered several catastrophic snaring incidences to key pack members.  Despite the urgent need to provide a crucial second pack to the reserve, several logistical difficulties, including a severe shortage of available females for managed pack bonding delayed the additional introduction. Six males which had originated from a 2009 dispersal from Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park were finally bonded to seven females from Thanda Game Reserve. This additional pack was released from the holding boma in 2011; shortly thereafter however, the remaining wild dogs from the previously released pack disappeared.