THE private wildlife reserve, where security personnel of the Namibia Airports company shot and killed three members of a pack of one of Namibia’s most endangered carnivore species earlier in the year, now has a new pack of wild dogs after a lengthy re-introduction programme by the world renowned N/a’an ku sê Foundation ended this week.
According to Dr. Rudi van Vuuren from the N/a’an ku sê Foundation the pack of four African wild dogs embraced their new surroundings on the Zannier Reserve immediately.
The four African wild dogs were released onto the Zannier Reserve by N/a’an ku sê earlier this week after they arrived at the N/a’an ku sê Foundation Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017 as part of a pack of ten that had previously lived on the reserve of the AfriCat Foundation.
In continuing their research on the release of African wild dogs, the N/a’an ku sê team monitored the pack of ten, ultimately selecting four candidates for release. Three males and a female were chosen for reasons that will significantly increase the likelihood of their survival on the Zannier Reserve by N/a’an ku sê. This pack cohesion is vital to their future survival.
The four selected animals spent approximately ten weeks in a soft release camp on the Zannier Reserve. This allowed them to grow accustomed to the sounds and smells of the area, thereby habituating them to the site of their future release. Vigilant monitoring of the location, utilizing strategically placed camera traps, indicated that resident reserve lions do not frequent the area, thus proving it to be an ideal release location.
This release into a protected reserve will be invaluable to the Na’an ku sê Foundation’s African wild dog research, and the hope of releasing a larger pack of painted dogs into a national park in the future.
Marlice van Vuuren, Executive Director, performed the release. A hartebeest carcass was placed in close proximity to the soft release camp, prior to the opening of the gate. The four dogs wasted no time in dashing to freedom on the 7 500-hectare reserve.