In an exciting win for conservation, the Luangwa Valley is now estimated to have the largest population of wild dogs in the whole of Zambia. Despite being one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores, wild dogs in and around the South Luangwa National Park have enjoyed several years of increasing numbers, And here are now estimated to be approximately 350 adults and yearlings living in the Luangwa Valley. 

Photo provided by Zambian Carnivore Programme

Photo provided by Zambian Carnivore Programme

This wildlife conservation success is in large part due to the collaborative efforts of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, (DNPW), the Zambian Carnivore Programme, (ZCP), and Conservation South Luangwa, (CSL). Successfully increasing the wild dog population in the Luangwa has required collaborative conservation efforts to reduce the impacts of snaring, which has had devastating impacts on wild dogs in the past. As a result of intense monitoring of approximately 150-180 dogs, teams from DNPW, ZCP and CSL have been able to detect and treat snared dogs, ensuring the survival of many wild dog packs within the Luangwa Valley. 

While this population increase is encouraging news, the wild dogs still face an uncertain future, particularly outside the areas in the Luangwa where they are not intensively protected. “Conservation successes are hard to achieve and we cannot relax, as they can quickly be undone if we are not vigilant,” said ZCP Ecologist Thandiwe Mweetwa. “Nevertheless we should celebrate this conservation success for Zambia and the region’s wild dogs.

Written by Robin Pope Safaris

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Carol Van Brugen