Wild Dog Sub-population Monitoring
From the annual report submitted to the Government of Botswana by The Botswana Predator Conservation Program (Dr. J. W. “Tico” McNutt, Director)
Five packs of wild dogs resident in the study area in 2007 were closely monitored for ranging, habitat use, and reproduction. All five packs produced a litter of pups during the months June through August, the normal denning season. Lions disrupted the denning activities of the small pack of three adults in the Third Bridge area of Moremi Game Reserve (Table 4) and all the pups were subsequently lost. The other four packs in the study area successfully fledged pups from dens both in the Moremi and in the adjacent WMA’s, though lions have killed many of these pups in the last three months of the year. Several additional packs including a radio-collared pack on Chief’s Island also successfully produced pups elsewhere in Northern Botswana outside our study area. These included three packs known in the Linyanti/Selinda area, a pack in the Mapula/Vumbura area, and two known packs in eastern Ngamiland.
|Pack||Area||Ad & Sub-Ad||Pups||Pups Surviving|
Table 4. Wild dog pack reproduction and pup survival through the end of 2007.
Most known mortality of pups to date is attributed to lion ambush and most of this occurs before the first half year of age. Using an average litter size of 9 pups per litter for the packs with unknown litter sizes, the survival of pups to 6 months of age in 2007 from this sample is 40 percent slightly below the 15-year average survival to one year (43%) from 71 litters. It is also worth noting the positive relationship in the data presented in Table 4 between pack size and pup survival a finding consistent with previous records for this population. Increased survivorship is presumed to relate to probability of ambush declining with increasing pack size due to increased vigilance.