The African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It has few natural predators, but habitat fragmentation, human persecution and disease have slashed its numbers. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the African wild dog is one of the rarest and most endangered mammals in the world.
Current population estimates are between 3000 and 6600. The story of the African wild dog conservation programme at Erindi Private Game Reserve is full of twists and turns. It began in late 2007, when owner Gert Joubert decided to create a safe haven for a natural African wild dog population, and two groups of animals were brought into the reserve.
Sadly, the numbers dwindled due to unforeseen factors like canine distemper, negative interactions with spotted hyenas resulting in a scarcity of food, and confrontations within the pack. There was also a freak accident in 2008 when lighting struck a tree and killed 13 of the pack lying beneath it. In 2014, numbers had risen to a total of 14 members. The alpha pair produced a litter of pups in 2015, once again brightening the future for Erindi’s African wild dog pack.