Pack leaders and pups

Pregnant wild dog at Tintswalo Lapalala. Photograph: Annemieke Muller, Lapalala Wilderness vet

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Lapalala Wilderness Reserve and Tintswalo Lapalala, captured and relocated to Lapalala Wilderness Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo) a free-roaming pack of 10 wild dogs

According to Glenn Phillips, Chief Executive of Lapalala Wilderness, the dogs, in a boma on the reserve, have adjusted so well that the alpha female has produced a litter of pups. (Their birth)  ‘provides a welcome boost to the survival of this endangered species and we look forward to setting them free in the reserve as a pack when the pups are strong enough, around the end of August (2020)’.

Tintswalo Lapalala Wild Dogs. Photograph Corne Engelbrecht

Wildlife and conservation media company Painted Dog TV has installed bush cameras allowing viewers 24/7 insight into the daily life and behaviour of the pack. Three bush cameras focus on the den site, the feeding site and the waterhole.

The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) is one of the world’s most endangered mammals, with only around 6500 individuals left in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Reserve ecologists have been monitoring the animals in Lapalala’s predator bomas during the post-release period. ‘Keeping the wild dogs in a large holding boma for a few months helps break their inherent instinct to return to the area they originated from and teaches them to respect electric fences’, says Herman Muller, Biodiversity Manager at Lapalala Wilderness.

Founded in 1981 by conservation champions, Dale Parker and Clive Walker, the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve stretches across 48 500 hectares of pristine bushveld to provide ample hunting opportunities for the wild dogs. Wild dogs are highly effective predators and form an essential part of natural ecosystems by keeping herbivore numbers in check.

Home to the Big 5, Lapalala’s unique landscape offers opportunities to see endangered Roan antelope and Black rhinoceros within its savannah biomes is 27km of perennial river frontage and excellent game viewing.