The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Zambia in partnership with African Parks has successfully translocated three African wild dogs to Liuwa Plain National Park.
The carnivores have been sourced from Kafue National Park to reintroduce the species in Liuwa Plain in order to boost the tourism profile of the park and contribute to the long-term conservation of wild dogs in Zambia.
The translocation was facilitated with the financial support of Bob Kwan and the technical and logistical support of the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
“Zambia is one of only six remaining countries considered as strongholds for wild dogs on the entire continent. The return of this endangered species to Liuwa Plain forms part of the National Wild Dog Plan, enabling the government to conserve healthy populations of wild dogs,” said Dr. Chuma Simukonda, Director of National Parks and Wildlife.
Simukonda added that the Government of Zambia is committed to conserving its exceptional national parks and investing in their potential to contribute meaningfully to economic development and the quality of life among communities, as well as the protection of Zambia’s outstanding biodiversity.
There are only around 6,600 wild dogs and just about 700 breeding pairs left on the African continent. This is mainly due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, indiscriminate snare trapping and diseases like rabies and canine distemper.
Upon arrival at Liuwa Plain, the carnivores were released into a purpose-built temporary boma where they will remain for up to eight weeks to facilitate social bonding as they establish a new pack and to acclimatize prior to their release into the wider park landscape.
The wild dogs have been fitted with satellite collars to enable the continual monitoring of their location and habitat use and to ensure for their protection. This initial group of females will be supplemented with additional male wild dogs in the coming weeks.
In 2003, African Parks entered into a long-term agreement with the Zambian Government and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to manage Liuwa Plain and revitalise the park.
“We have worked in close partnership with the DNPW and the Barotse Royal Establishment for 18 years to enhance Liuwa Plain’s ability to generate benefits for people and wildlife. Thanks to the Zambian Government and the BRE’s commitment to this landscape, Liuwa has emerged as a park not only hailed for the recovery of its wildlife numbers, but for its international tourism appeal. The reintroduction of wild dogs is a key milestone in this process of restoration, helping to build a valuable natural asset for Zambia and a future for this iconic species in Africa” said James Milanzi, African Parks’ Regional Director of Conservation.
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 19 national parks and protected areas in eleven countries covering over 14.7 million hectares in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.