Wild dogs roam freely

MELKRIVIER — The last free roaming packs of South African wild dogs, which is currently managing to survive in the Melkrivier area, has been successfully collared and their movements are being monitored by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). Pin drops of their locations are being made available twice daily on a WhatsApp group (Mogol Post published an article about the initial discussions held in Melkrivier in the 9 March edition this year.)

One of the two collared dogs struggled to shake off the effects of the anaesthetic drug used for the collaring process and was separated from the pack for several days, but has now managed to re-unite itself, showing incredible tracking ability.

These dogs are currently under threat from some game breeders because they hunt and eat animals which carry a monetary value. One landowner even sought a court order to have these dogs killed should they kill more of his game. Since they are nomadic and penetrate game fences with ease, this threat is very real and could lead to their demise at any time.

People are advised to take their guests to view these wild dogs when they are available and to pay the landowner for the privilege. This will place monetary value on the dogs and help to save their lives by paying for losses incurred. Also, your guests will be able to enjoy close up encounters with this pack of young dogs that has become quite habituated to vehicles and tend to pose beautifully for photographs.

To join the WhatsApp group that gives the dogs’ location, telephone or message Derek van der Merwe, Limpopo Regional Coordinator of EWT’s Carnival Conservation Programme, on 083 447 9335. A second group, also administered by Derek, is called Waterberg Wild Dog Chat and photographs, videos and comments are shared on this group by all who are interested in the welfare and progress of these dogs.

Derek and his team express great gratitude towards Hazel Tiffany and John Caswell from England, Duncan Parker of Lapalala and Mark Matheson for financing the collars. He also thank the Quintis Enslin for flying the vet who darted and collared the dogs free of charge. “There has already been a very big investment made to ensure the survival of these animals,” Derek says.

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