The Endangered Wildlife Trust together with Wes Larson, a wildlife biologist, set out to do a little matchmaking to boost wild dog populations.
South Africa (14 August 2020) – The African Wild Dog is the most endangered carnivore in South Africa. The beautiful canine has a small population but thanks to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) that is all changing!
The Trust has turned to matchmaking for assistance. No, they are not hoping other wild dogs will swipe right on their ladies. EWT wanted to repopulate a new area where wild dog populations have dwindled away. The best way to make that happen, scent swapping.
To do this, the organisation has employed an exceptional method. They relocated two separate packs, one with only males the other, only females and placed them together in a new location. To ensure a smooth introduction, a group scent swap was done while the animals were sedated.
Primarily, the scent swap is done so when the wild dogs wake from their slumber; they already smell like each other and integration is much smoother. To do this, EWT rubs the dogs against each other, places their nuzzles in scent areas of each wild dog until they are all smelly.
Wes Larson, from Great Big Story, was left in awe of the process. It doesn’t exactly embody social-distancing, but in this case, that is the exact opposite of what is needed to have this be a success story.
“I never thought I would find myself in the middle of the South African bush rubbing two sedated wild animals together.” – Wes Larson
To get the packs together was no easy task. The males had separated themselves from their original pack as they had reached maturity and were looking for females. While kept in a manageable enclosure, the sneaky pups dug their way out and went out hunting.
EWT had to track them down in order to pair them up with the selected females. Nobody said conservation was easy.
Anyway, we won’t give the rest away. It was fascinating watching the process of the scent swap and seeing the animals meet for the first time. Take a look at the feature done by Wes Larson for Great Big Story below.