It’s Monday 7th January and some HUGE wild dog news!

How are you and how has the first week of 2019 treated you? I hope it has been full of promise of the year ahead. Before I go into overly enthusiastic raptures over the New Year, let me pull myself back to the task in hand and update you all on news from the valley.

Let’s start the year off with some really exciting news which has been given to us by Dr. Matt Becker and his team at the Zambia Carnivore Programme – The South Luangwa National Park is now officially home to Zambia’s largest African wild dog population

In an exciting win for conservation, the Luangwa Valley is now estimated to have the largest population of wild dogs in the whole of Zambia. Despite being one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores, wild dogs in and around the South Luangwa National Park have enjoyed several years of increasing numbers, and there are now estimated to be approximately 350 adults and yearlings living in the Luangwa Valley.

This wildlife conservation success is in large part due to the collaborative efforts of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP), and Conservation South Luangwa (CSL). Successfully increasing the wild dog population in the Luangwa has required collaborative conservation efforts to reduce the impacts of snaring, which has had devastating impacts on wild dogs in the past. As a result of intense monitoring of approximately 150-180 dogs, teams from DNPW, ZCP and CSL have been able to detect and treat snared dogs, ensuring the survival of many wild dog packs within the Luangwa Valley.

While this population increase is encouraging news, the wild dogs still face an uncertain future, particularly outside the areas in the Luangwa where they are not intensively protected. “Conservation successes are hard to achieve and we cannot relax, as they can quickly be undone if we are not vigilant,” said ZCP Ecologist Thandiwe Mweetwa. “Nevertheless we should celebrate this conservation success for Zambia and the region’s wild dogs.”

A huge thanks to all the people involved in this project it has proved a real success and we are so excited with the news that the Luangwa wild dog population is thriving thank you so much Matt for sharing this information with us.

So naturally after this news I should tell you about all the wild dog sightings that we have been having! Our guests at Nkwali have been treated with glimpses of them bounding out of thick bushes chasing some poor terrified looking antelope, to seeing them sprawled across the road enjoying the feeling of the cool ground against their tummies as well as witnessing the last remains of a kill being ravenously shared between the pack. It really has been a busy start to the year on the dog front.

It is not only the dogs that have proved successful so far this year a glimpse of a lioness with brand new cubs, eyes still shut was enjoyed by the guests and let us be honest about it really this is an undeniably amazing sighting as we rarely get to see lions out and about when they are this small. So all in all it’s been a great start to the year and let us hope that it continues in the same way.

For now though I am going to disappear off and leave you all to the rest of your week and wish you all a fabulous one with lots of smiles and laughter…don’t forget to look after each other!

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