FROM HWANGE TO MANA POOLS – A JOURNEY BY AIR FOR A PACK OF WILD DOGS
A guest contribution by Painted Dog Conservation’s Mr. Shepherd
(Posted 25th September 2019)
(Wild Dog puppies cooling off at a pool inside the holding boma after arrival in Mana Pools – picture courtesy of Mr. Shepherd / second picture by ATCNews)
As reported by ATCNews a few weeks ago was a major relocation exercise to take place to bring a pack of wild dogs, aka painted dogs or hunting dogs from Hwange National Park to their new home in Mana Pools National Park.
The dogs, as planned, arrived well on the 23rd of September around 10:15 hrs in a plane which flew them from Hwange to Mana Pools. It is a pack that has been relocated from Hwange, Tsholotsho community after human and wildlife conflict complaints were filed with wildlife managers as the pack was going for goats as easy prey.
This pack is called Mpindo pack, named after an area called Mpindo where it was first sighted.
Last year this pack was eating goats of people living at the Mpindo area, a place adjacent to Hwange National Park.
Mainly the cause of that pack to extend its hunting movements was due to the pressure from big carnivores since it was a small unit. Painted Dog Conservation subsequently captured the pack before the community could kill them to defend their lifestock.
The community was kept assured that the pack would be relocated before much further loss of their livestock’s and eventually it was successful. The dogs were raised at the rehab facility that was established in October 2002, a place which plays a pivotal role in keeping the sick and injured dogs till the time they fully recover.
The rehab centre also caters for orphaned pups till the time they are no longer vulnerable if put back into the wild.
So this pack last year was catered for six months with its eight pups that were later killed by wire snares and probably hyenas or lions. From the last year litter of pups only one survived and was named Survivor.
He is now at Mana Pools with the alpha pair of the pack and this year’s litter of seven. The full release of this pack from the holding boma is anticipated to take place in April 2020 after all the seven pups are old enough to survive life in the wild and can be safe from bigger predators.