On 27 July, 14 African wild dogs were successfully translocated from South Africa and Mozambique to Malawi, through a collaboration between the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and African Parks. The endangered animals were flown from Ladysmith and Massingir in Mozambique to Blantyre, from where they were taken to their new homes in Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve.
While the African Wild Dog used to be common in Malawi, they have not been found there for 70 years, with only around 6,600 in total left in the wild throughout Africa. One of the major challenges in ensuring their survival is finding large spaces in which they can can thrive, as each pack needs extensive space to roam. The EWT’s African Wild Dog Range Expansion Project focuses on identifying viable locations where wild dogs used to live and translocating packs to these areas.
Painted Wolf Wines was a major contributor to the Malawi operation, both by funding preliminary relocations to prepare the dogs for this journey and purchasing 12 purpose-built crates, essential for transporting the animals safely. Their regular donations to the EWT are ringfenced for the African Wild Dog Range Expansion Project and they have donated R274,000 since October 2020. Raising money for African wild dog conservation is the driving force behind the company, and being able to make a significant contribution to critical operations such as this one is a dream come true for owners Emma and Jeremy Borg.
“We were all following the buildup to this relocation very closely, with regular updates from the EWT team as it all came together, and we were thrilled to hear the news of the wild dogs’ safe arrival in Malawi. Making wine and using it to raise funds for the conservation of these remarkable animals – what more could we ask for?” said Jeremy Borg, Owner and Winemaker at Painted Wolf Wines. “Every bottle we sell raises a little more money for this cause, so we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our loyal customers who are our partners in our conservation mission. Success stories like this show that we can really help to make a difference in securing a better future for the African wild dog.”
The Malawi packs will spend several weeks in secure bomas so that they can settle into their new surroundings before being released into larger areas. They will all be fitted with satellite or radio collars so that researchers can continue to gather information about their behaviour and ensure their protection. It is hoped that as well as playing a critical part in securing the survival of the species, their reintroduction to Malawi will have a positive impact on both tourism and existing ecosystems.
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