Despite their beauty, enigmatic nature and incredible social structure, African wild dogs are the most endangered large carnivore in southern Africa, facing local extinction in many areas. The Lowveld Wild Dog Project actively promotes and facilitates the conservation of this endangered species in Zimbabwe through a combination of management-driven research, hands on conservation, policy intervention and education and outreach.
Unfortunately, global wild dog populations are declining, due to habitat loss, human persecution, disease (especially rabies), accidental by-catch in wire snares, loss of prey and competition with larger carnivores like lions. The Greater Limpopo Trans-frontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), which comprises key wildlife areas in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique, hosts a critically important, yet highly threatened population of these endangered carnivores. The Lowveld Wild Dog Project was initiated in 1996 in the Savé Valley Conservancy (SVC), which covers an area of nearly one million acres in southeastern Zimbabwe and is a key part of the GLTFCA. This remains our focal study area, and here the LWDP team (Dr. Rosemary Groom and scouts Rueben Bote and Misheck Matari) closely monitor the population of 80 to 90 wild dogs comprised of nine packs.