With the conservation and interest of the Waterberg Wild Dog at heart, the landowners and community initiative, branded as The Waterberg Wild Dog Conservation Project, has set its vision in creating a blue-print of co-existence with the last free roaming pack of wild dogs. Achieving this vision would include addressing the interest and concerns of all relevant parties, ensuring the safe passage of this most endangered carnivore in South Africa.
The Team realised that if a successful denning could be facilitated by landowners, it would go a long way in supporting the sterling job that our strategic partners, the EWT and Ledet, has already achieved. The approach in adding value to the vision of securing the continued safety of the Waterberg Wild Dogs was then designed with a short term, a medium and long term vision.
The immediate and short-term vision was to ensure a safe denning. This necessitated an extremely close and transparent relationship between land owners and the EWT. Regular updates were send as a pre-warning system of the movements of the pack. EWT and the denning farm worked together in tracking the pack and monitoring behavior as close as possible without disturbing them. The help of a professional wildlife photographer, Daviid Swanepoel, was also obtained allowing the denning to be captured and documented in detail.
Part of the short-term strategy is also to create a test bench in determining the viability of an eco-tourism model, allowing visitors the rare opportunity of seeing free roaming wild dogs and to raise an awareness by sharing critical educational information with guests.
Once a successful denning is over, the medium-term vision in securing the safe passage of the pack will become the next hurdle. The successful implementation of this phase will depend on educating the community about the importance of this pack, raising funds and donations and use the denning model as a blue-print for lobbying support to continue with the eco-tourism model.
Once this is achieved, the long term vision will be realised, where the co-existence between landowners and the pack could be used as a model across the globe and across species.