Population and habitat viability analysis

The primary aim of the PHVA was to develop a conservation action plan to improve the status of wild dogs in southern Africa. Of particular interest was the development of a metapopulation approach to management for the species and to establish a second viable population of wild dogs outside of the Kruger National Park. A second priority was the identification of suitable conservation areas that could support a reintroduction program to establish additional populations of wild dogs, and the development of criteria for selecting such sites. The workshop process took an in-depth look at the species' life history, population history, status, and dynamics, and attempted to assess the threats putting the species at risk. The recommendations coming from the workshop were accepted by all participants, thus representing a consensus (Mills et al. 1998):

• A second, viable population of African wild dogs was to be established outside of the Kruger National Park by reintroduction into suitable reserves and protected areas.
• Criteria for reintroduction areas were established.
• It was determined that a minimum of nine packs was required for successful functioning of the metapopulation and were to be established within ten years (determined through Vortex population modelling).
• Selection criteria for individual animals to be used in founder populations were established e.g. age, immune status, genetic status, established hunting skills, previous exposure to litters.
• Criteria for packs were established e.g. a minimum pack size of 6 individuals in founder packs.
• Wild caught individuals were to be given priority when establishing founder populations and captive dogs used only when absolutely necessary.
• Consistent, periodic, managed gene-flow was to be maintained through translocation of appropriate individuals between reserves.
• Management guidelines for reserves to manage small populations were established.

• The need for research into disease, genetics and metapopulation management was identified.
• The importance of the establishment of a national and international education strategy was identified.
• The importance of insisting that legislation grants wild dog special protection was highlighted.
• The Wild Dog Advisory Group was established.