Importance to metapopulation genetics

Until recently only demographic data has been used to make management decisions concerning the South African wild dogs. The rate at which the wild dog subpopulations are increasing, combined with the different levels of monitoring at the various metapopulation reserves, is making it difficult to keep track of relatedness among the populations. This is likely to result in future inbreeding and subsequent loss of genetic diversity over time. Thus conservation management planning should involve aspects of demographic history and have an understanding of the genetic variation within the wild dog populations. Working with conservation genetics allows an understanding of genetic factors that affect extinction risks and management systems needed to reduce them.

Information gathered about relatedness within and between reserves and populations can serve as an indicator of previous translocations but more importantly can suggest which reserves are potentially good for future translocations.