Thanks to humans, the African Wild Dog has almost been completely exterminated over the past hundreds of years. Wild dogs are the most endangered larger predators and mammals in the south of Africa. In northern Africa it is the Ethiopian Wolf that it is the most endangered. There are only about 400 - 500 of them left.
Our goal is to increase the odds of survival in the wild for theses species, by returning young animals from so-called beta groups (animal groups that were separated from other packs), which were born on controlled farms, to their natural habitat.
Momentarily, a pack of 18 dogs are kept on large grounds especially laid out for them by fences, in order to protect them from attacks. Other predators, particularly lions, are the most dangerous enemies to newborn African Wild Dogs. This kind of facility prevents their access. The wild dogs are given food on a regular basis, which ensures the essential dependability of a food source.
Such measures improve reproduction conditions for this species considerably. It is reflected in the increase of mating willingness between alpha animals. In order to prevent incest and genetic flaws that come of it, we work closely with other African Wild Dog projects in Botswana and South Africa. The purpose is to guarantee a natural exchange among pack members as much as possible. So far, our breeding attempts have been a great success. Currently, there is a regularity of 2 litters a year among the 18 dogs, with each litter consisting of two puppies each. The young are later returned to the wild with the help of national park organizations. By putting them in to various national parks we are able to continually increase the population.
The milestone of this project is to settle a further pack on our grounds until 2010, so we can increase the reintroduction. The rate should be around 20% = 10 of the already existing animals and 10% = 5 newborns.
Willie de Graaf, founder of the Kalahari-Predator-Conservation Project, is responsible for this project. Willie works intensively with national park officials and other wild-dog projects. He has life long experience in handling wild dogs.