Welcome to the African Wild Dog Watch web-site
This site has been set up to discuss and enquire into the safety, efficacy and purposes of past and current invasive research, known as ‘handling’, including anaesthetisation, blood-sampling, radio-collaring and vaccination, of the highly endangered African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) and the vaccination of the ancient breed of African domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris).
To identify unforeseen adverse consequences of past and current ‘conservation’ research initiatives involving the indigenous African Wild Dog, and to describe and explain their fascinating, possibly unique, behaviour.
This discussion and enquiry is based on an analysis of data and observations in published scientific and popular accounts and some currently unpublished sources.
It is hoped that this approach will result in providing a firm scientific data basis on which safe, evidence-based conservation initiatives will be based; and not on costly, ineffective, highly invasive experiments based on unsubstantiated claims and assumptions which in some cases were followed by population declines or high mortality in Wild Dogs and epidemics in domestic dogs.
To facilitate a fuller understanding of the issues involved a range of papers, articles and other background information is available on this site including:-
- the origin and behaviour of the African Wild Dog and why this knowledge is vital to its successful conservation.
- the origin and evolution of the African domestic dog and it’s claimed role in disease transmission to the African Wild Dog.
- the central facts relating to the extinction of all 14 handled Wild Dog study packs between 1986 – 1991 in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Tanzania and Kenya, whilst a non-study (not handled) population in adjacent areas survived, expanded and persists to date.
- data documenting the dramatic decline post 1989 in Wild Dog numbers in Kruger National Park (South Africa) until 2005 when highly invasive research ceased and Wild Dog numbers increased; and the deaths of 5 handled Wild Dog study packs in a 3 week period in Botswana.
- an epidemic of rabies of international importance that began in one district bordering the Serengeti National Park following the ending of mass vaccinations against rabies of African domestic dogs in that district.
- important questions relating to the identification of possible adverse consequences of invasive research (handling), including vaccination, of free living Wild Dogs and of the vaccination of African domestic dogs.
- a ‘Handling-Stress Hypothesis’ that can explain the Wild Dog population declines and high mortality of handled Wild Dog study packs.
- a protocol that a young male wild dog becomes ‘top dog’ in the pack is probably unique mammal behaviour.
- pack formation and protocols of social behaviour and conservation of the African Wild Dog.
- the call for publication in full of all research on Wild Dogs and all data collected to be made openly available, as advocated for all scientific research by The Royal Society (2011), upon which safe, evidence-based conservation initiatives for Wild Dogs can be based and their success or failure objectively assessed.