Gorongosa National Park receives a new pack of Wild Dogs / Painted Wolves (Lycaon pictus)
Gorongosa National Park is excited to announce the completion of another historic translocation of Painted Wolves from South Africa to Mozambique. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), a champion of wildlife conservation in Africa, and the aviation company The Bateleurs undertook a translocation mission last week that saw 15 Painted Wolves transported from the Kalahari, South Africa to Gorongosa, in Mozambique.
With only around 6,600 Painted Wolves left in Africa, this iconic species is one of the Continent’s most at-risk carnivores and is listed by the IUCN as ‘Endangered’. Urgent action is needed to save them. A key conservation strategy is to reintroduce Painted Wolves to viable ecosystems where they once ranged. The Painted Wolves (Lycaon pictus) is a canid native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is the largest indigenous canid in Africa, and the only extant member of the genus Lycaon. The Painted Wolf possesses the most specialized adaptations among the canids for coat colour, diet, and for pursuing its prey through its running ability. It possesses a graceful skeleton, and the loss of the first digit on its forefeet increases its stride and speed.
One of the new Painted Wolves at arrival at Gorongosa National Park (Photo by Olivier Grunewald)
Upon arrival, the sleeping males and females were transferred to a boma in Gorongosa where they will stay for three to five weeks before being released. This is to allow the pack to get habituated to the local area. During this time, Gorongosa’s Carnivore Conservation Team will monitor the health and status of the pack in the boma before release.
On April 16, 2018, in a bold and innovative move to reverse the fate of Painted Wolves in southern Africa, the partnership between the EWT and Gorongosa National Park ensured the reintroduction of the Park’s first pack of Painted Wolves in decades. This was a landmark occasion, as Painted Wolves have not been reintroduced to any park, protected area, game reserve or other space in the history of Mozambique. That truly represented conservation in action – an ambitious venture to restore Wild Dogs to an incredible ecosystem, and the initial 14 Painted Wolves, adapted so fast that now they became 40, as three females gave birth to 26 pups.
The new pack of Painted Wolves at their boma at Gorongosa National Park (Photo by Olivier Grunewald)
Gorongosa National Park has been described as one of the most diverse parks on Earth, covering a vast expanse of 400,000 hectares. In recent years, the Gorongosa Project, with the support of Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), has ensured the protection of a recovering population of Lions in this system, successfully reduced key threats, and seen the Park recognised as one of National Geographic's ‘Last Wild Places.’