Travel to Zimbabwe: watch African wild dogs with researchers
my name is Rosemary. I am the wildlife biologist in charge of the Lowveld Wild Dog Project in the Savé Valley Conservancy in south-eastern Zimbabwe. The trackers Rueben Bote and Misheck Matari are very important members of our team. After spending my youth in Zimbabwe, I worked in Botswana and Kenya for six years. Now I am back in Zimbabwe working for the African Wildlife Conservation Fund. My purpose is to contribute to the conservation of the highly endangered African Wild Dog while learning more about this amazingly enigmatic species.
In 2004, the Savé Valley Conservancy hosted the highest density of endangered African Wild Dogs anywhere in the world. Although numbers have since declined slightly, the conservancy still provides one of the key strongholds for this charismatic species. A long-term wild dog conservation project, the Lowveld Wild Dog Project, has been operating in the conservancy since 1996 and closely follows the history of the nine different packs, several of which are radio-collared to enable us to find them frequently. The denning season – a three month period when the dogs produce a litter of 4-14 pups – provides an excellent opportunity to observe the packs, including the new (and very playful) pups. As a wildlife experience, this is unbeatable!
One of the most special packs currently numbers 42 individuals! This large pack has produced two litters for both the previous two years and has done a great job of raising the pups, making the pack by far the largest in south-east Zimbabwe. It’s quite a sight to see such a bunch of carnivores, and such a privilege given how endangered they are. Watching this pack at the den is especially rewarding; the interactions between the older and younger pups as well as the yearlings are fascinating.
The good news is that the wild dog project team are happy to accompany visitors to the conservancy on a guided visit to one of the wild dog dens, allowing guests to experience the breathtaking encounter for themselves. Come and join the wild dog experts for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, contact Daktari Safaris for further information and bookings.