Several tourist photographic surveys have been done in the Kruger National Park to evaluate the minimum number of each species alive during the specific census period, with the 5th Wild Dog and 2nd cheetah photographic census held in 2008/9. These surveys have shown a decline in wild dog numbers from 434 in 1993/4 to 132 in 2008/9, and cheetah numbers remained low at 102 in 2004/5 and 172 in 2008/9. This project aims to understand this decrease in Wild Dog numbers to implement informed conservation management.
The Kruger Western Boundary Project identified edge effects that could be affecting Cheetahs and Wild Dogs inside the Kruger National Park. The Western Boundary Project focused outside the western and southern boundary of Kruger National Park undertaken in 2010 showed Wild Dogs are regularly moving up to 40km outside the boundary of the park, and thus becoming exposed to a variety of threats such as direct persecution, snaring and road kills. However, recorded mortality levels are not sufficient to explain the decrease in Wild Dog numbers inside the park.
The Kruger Wild Dog project is a long-term research and monitoring programme on Wild Dogs that will allow for a better understanding of their use of space, distribution within the park, and the ecological and anthropogenic factors that influence their population dynamics. Focal monitoring of collared individuals in key packs allows for the investigation of the various factors effecting Wild Dog population dynamics. In combination with the focal monitoring a SMS hotline and various social media sites are used to assist in locating and monitoring pack movement and distribution. Higher densities of Wild Dogs are recorded in the south than the north of the park, and thus the initial data collection took place in the southern part of the park. It is unknown what drives the north-south gradient of Wild Dog density within the park, although it is expected to be a combination of complex factors including, but not limited to, differences in rainfall and prey availability.
Please report sightings of Wild Dogs in Greater Kruger National Park to firstname.lastname@example.org .za and follow project updates on twitter@KNPWildDogs
The EWT in collaboration with SANParks has been monitoring Wild Dogs and Cheetahs through tourist photographic surveys for several years. These surveys allow for an estimate of the minimum number of each species alive in the park on during the specific census period. The 5th Wild Dog and 2nd Cheetah photographic census held in 2008/9 and for the first time, an attempt was made to get a more statistically accurate idea of the number of Cheetahs and Wild Dogs in the park. These surveys have shown a decline in wild dog numbers from 434 in 1993/4 to 132 in 2008/9, and cheetah numbers remained low at 102 in 2004/5 and 172 in 2008/9. The next survey is planned for 2014/2015.
The aim of this research project was to investigate the factors influencing the spatial ecology, population dynamics and dispersal habits of Wild Dogs and Cheetahs occurring beyond the western and south western boundaries of the Kruger National Park. Additionally, data were collected on information on human tolerance and perceptions of both species, and any threats the animals may be facing. The information collected was used to gain a greater understanding of the factors driving Wild Dog and Cheetah dynamics in the greater Kruger area. Results showed that Wild Dogs and Cheetahs move between Kruger and properties outside the western boundary and this has resulted in four known wild dog mortalities between March 2011 and April 2012 associated with snaring (2), road traffic accidents (1), and shooting (1) and nine cheetah mortality associated with snaring (2), road traffic accidents (2), and shooting (5). Additionally, two Wild Dogs and two Cheetahs were removed live from the area.
Download report here