The Importance of Wild Dog Monitoring
A wild dog pack living on Imfolozi Game Reserve called Sokwezela had not been seen for months. It was critical that we got proper ID shots to work out who was in the pack and whether any individuals may have dispersed or been injured.
After a difficult monitoring session, we were rewarded with a visual of these majestic animals living in their own environment – freely working together as one unit.
We managed to ID most of Sokwezela pack – accounting for individuals with various injuries, one of whom had lost a tail. Interestingly enough this individual had been seen a few weeks back with other females from another pack.
Continual monitoring of Sokwezela pack and others will allow us to understand what is happening regarding their population dynamics. Proceeding tracking and monitoring, we had to collect their scat (feaces) in order for research to work out what the dogs had been feeding on.
Understanding wild dog distributional patterns, feeding behaviour and social behaviour is of critical importance to managing their populations on a national level. The data we collected contributes to the overall management of their populations and thus ensures their survival.
Written by: Kelsey Hattingh (Conservation Monitor)
Photos by: Gisela Zelenka – Drysdale, Sue Garrett