Last week, we had a meeting just across the border in Botswana about the state of Wild Dogs in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve (NOTUGRE). In 2008 there was a pack of 18 Wild Dogs relocated onto the reserve. Some of the dogs moved away and others split into smaller packs. The current pack that is residing on NOTUGRE consisted of 7 Wild Dogs up until 2 months ago, when a local farmer drove over 2 dogs. Unfortunately, the alpha male got killed in this horrific incident, which is leaving the alpha female with one other adult male. However, this male was caught in a snare and is not able to reproduce, which puts severe pressure on the sustainability of the pack.
According to Section 46 of the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act (see textbox), the farmer was in its full right to kill these two dogs as they have been or were forming a threat to his livestock (in this case ostriches), since the land he owns fall within NOTUGRE, but is not officially part of it. Legally, there is not much we can do and therefore it is of full most importance that we come up with solutions for this problem.
We offered to help and assist and we are going to look into this case in order to see if it is possible to place one of our Livestock Guardian Dogs with the ostriches to prevent any more ostriches from being taken by Wild Dogs or any other predator. This in turn protects the Wild Dogs and its carnivorous friends for getting persecuted by local farmers.
The frequency of human-wildlife conflicts world-wide have increased over the last ten years, which is mainly related to the expansion of human presence, habitat loss and fragmentation of the natural living area of the large carnivores and human exploitation of the natural prey base causing a decline in the occurrence of wild prey for the large carnivores thus increases the likelihood of depredation on livestock. Unfortunately, in most situations the large carnivores are paying a large price for preying on livestock, since the majority will get shot in order for the farmer to eliminate further stock losses, which is also the case for the Wild Dogs in Botswana.
Phudi - one of the Anatolian LGDs from the EWT Breeding programme
This is where Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) come to the rescue and can be a potential solution to decrease the persecution of Wild Dogs in NOTUGRE. LGDs have proven to be an effective and efficient non-lethal tool to protect livestock from large carnivores. Scientific literature shows that if Livestock Guardian Dogs are placed with the stock, stock losses have dropped or even became zero. Livestock Guardian Dogs work by scent marking and barking to offset and distract any hunting attempts from predators. They let smaller predators now that there is a larger predator in the vicinity, which results in natural predators being pushed back on natural prey.
The 5 Wild Dogs will be strictly monitored by the Mashatu Research Team and we will soon follow up on a visit to the farm to see if it is possible to put one of our LGDs with the ostriches, and to see if we can stop the farmer from killing these magnificent animals by offering him a magnificent solution.
Green Dogs to the rescue!