Not a collar

For 8 weeks I volunteered as an African wild dog monitor. The wild dog on the left, a yearling, isn’t wearing a collar, it’s a snare wound. Poachers set-up illegal snares to catch bushmeat. When animals walk through these snares the wire closes around them, and as the animal struggles to escape it tightens more, leading to horrific injuries and a painful death. Intensive wildlife monitoring meant the snare around this dog’s neck was spotted early enough and she could be saved.

African wild dogs need intensive monitoring, they are enchanting and a joy to watch, yet few reserves want them. They are voracious hunters, they travel great distances and can easily leave reserves. This pack would often escape the reserve by burrowing under perimeter fences, they would then come into conflict with local communities. Now they must be moved off the reserve to prevent further conflict. These dogs have been caught by vets and moved into a boma, where they wait until a suitable home can be found for them. It also means the snare wound can be closely monitored.

While in the boma the pack are regularly baited with a nyala carcass to habituate them to the presence of a truck. On moving day the vets can get much closer to the dogs to sedate them, with minimum stress.

Tembe Elephant Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa