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EWT return African Wild Dog relocation mission between South Africa and Malawi

Mission Report by: Cole du Plessis, Manager of the EWT’s Carnivore Range Expansion Project.


Mission Date: 26 + 28 February 

 

African Wild Dog Relocation Mission: Relocate a pack of African Wild Dogs from South Africa to Liwonde National Park (Malawi) and return from Majete Wildlife Reserve (Malawi) with a group of female African Wild Dogs.

 

The Mission Report:

This flight mission was two-fold and a first of its kind: it required us doing back-to-back international Wild Dog relocations.

 

The first phase of this mission was to relocate a pack of Wild Dogs from the EWT holding facility in the Waterberg to Liwonde National Park (Malawi). This mission captivated both tragedy and hope.  In November 2022, the original pack of Wild Dogs that were introduced into Liwonde National Park were poisoned. The pack had been drinking at a contaminated waterhole and all died on the scene. But this was an isolated incident and the Wild Dogs had been thriving. With precautions taken (e.g., poison training) and with the limited safe space owed to Wild Dog conservation, there was a carefully considered collective decision to try again. On 26 February ’24, a second pack of Wild Dogs were flown to Liwonde National Park. They were placed in the boma so that could have time to bond with their new pack members and settle into their new environment. The newly formed pack were released into the reserve on 10 April ’24.


The second phase of the mission was to fly a dispersal group of Wild Dogs back to South Africa. After a strenuous relation to Malawi, the team had a short rest and had to then undertake a high stakes mission all over again. This removal of females follows the highly successful reintroduction into Majete Wildlife Reserve. The pack have thrived and have raised two litters to adulthood. The Wild Dogs that were removed were born on Majete and had started leaving their natal pack seeking males to form a new pack. The Wild Dogs have now been bonded with two male Wild Dogs from Selati Game Reserve and are awaiting their new home.





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