Unmanaged populations

The Kruger National Park and the Waterberg region in Limpopo Province are currently the only areas within South Africa in which unmanaged wild dog populations occur. The increasing and continued need for land for wild dog range expansion has subsequently highlighted the importance of packs and dispersal groups occurring outside of protected areas.

Lindsey and Davies-Mosert (unpublished data) found that, during the time of their study, wild dogs outside of protected areas in South Africa fluctuated at around 104 individuals in 17 packs, making up approximately 28.2% of all wild dogs in the country. Private land presents the best prospects for range expansion outside of protected areas and conservation and adaptive management of wild dogs occurring on private farmland, game ranches and community areas should be supported and encouraged.

Unfortunately the predation costs incurred by wild dogs may not be willingly accepted by private reserve and land owners. It is the prospect of this cost upon which most private land owners base their negative feelings towards wild dogs. Lindsey et al. (2005) determined that costs incurred through wild dog predation in north eastern South Africa would amount to between $9 750 and $15 437 annually. However, wild dogs do possess the potential to generate revenue to compensate for the cost of predation through wild dog-based ecotourism of between $11 000 and $60 00 per pack per year (Lindsey et al. 2005). If private landowners can be shown that the benefits of wild dog tourism hold the potential to exceed the incurred costs they may be encouraged, not only to tolerate dogs currently on their land, but to reintroduce wild dogs at their own expense and become members of the metapopulation.