wild dogs are vulnerable to extinction because they exist
at low densities, range widely, and come increasingly into
contact with people. Even wild dogs in protected areas frequently
move into unprotected ones where people live. Rangelands
comprise about 85% of the land surface area in Kenya, and
are largely inhabited by pastoralists.
Wild dogs and other carnivores co-habit these same areas.
The Conservancy has a community conservation project in
northeastern and coastal Kenya, a biodiversity rich mosaic
of protected areas and
unprotected community lands under extreme threat. Due to
past and present security concerns, however, little is known
about the many threatened
species that live here. This region is an important
refuge for wild dogs, as well as for other
threatened wildlife species, and an important
corridor for the metapopulation
of wild dogs in the Horn
of Africa. Outside of this project, virtually nothing
is known about the conservation status and ecology of wild
dogs that live here. For this reason, the project has been
identified as a conservation priority by the IUCN/SSC Canid
Specialist Group and the AZA/Wild Dog Species Survival Program.
pioneering project investigates the conservation status,
ecology, and effects of cultural beliefs, traditional practices,
and human activities on wild dogs in this region. A key
component in sustaining wildlife and promoting a healthy
environment is to empower local communities through hands-on
training and to help community-based organizations establish
and analyze data on abundance and distribution, prey
preferences with special reference to domestic livestock
trend survey of local attitudes and concerns about wild
dogs in particular, and carnivores in general
and prioritize threats to wild dogs
a wildlife conservation education program
project directly contributes to conserving African wild
dogs by providing new scientific information on a key population
linking wild dogs in the Horn of
Africa. Results from the project will be used to
develop an African Wild Dog Conservation Action Plan in
partnership with local, national, and international stakeholders.
Expanding habitat connectivity
and long-term monitoring are top priorities for conserving
this species. By training and working with Kenyans, innovative
community-based solutions can be fostered and implemented,
and local awareness of the importance of the environment
and wildlife conservation can be raised.
Wild Dogs in the Biodiversity Hotspot Convergence
African Wild Dog Conservancy is presenting new
information on wild dogs in the biodiversity
hotspot convergence zone that will
be used for conservation planning. This is part
of a larger continent-wide planning effort to
help protect wild dogs and other carnivores.
Local People Say
first social survey of attitudes towards wild
dogs and other large predators has been completed
with over 200 villages participating and over
5,000 wild dog sightings.
Attitudes towards wild dogs and other predators
are largely negative because of concern for
livestock and personal safety. Despite this,
wild dogs co-exist with villagers with almost
half of those interviewed saying they would
not kill them.
the majority of villagers interviewed thought
predators had no real value, but did not want
them to become extinct, with some saying they
should be left alone. For those who thought
that predators had value, reasons included being
an important part of their natural heritage,
having potential economic importance, and consuming
dead livestock. Many villagers qualified their
responses, indicating that predators should
be placed in a sanctuary or zoo and only those
animals that kill livestock should be killed.
the role of predators in the ecosystem was not
well understood, with over half of those surveyed
believing that wildlife could not become extinct,
most expressed some concern for wildlife in
general and the environment. This belief highlighted
the importance of working with local people
to address a key question "How can wild
dogs and and people co-exist for future generations?"
dogs were not considered a major cause of livestock
livestock losses attributable to them and religious
injunctions against killing may help explain
Spotted hyenas were far more likely to be blamed.
Losses to lions and leopards varied regionally,
while losses to hyenas, caracals, cheetahs,
and jackals were found in all villages surveyed.
Pythons and crocodiles occasionally took livestock