Moving On Up: Wild Dog Releases in Serengeti National Park

Written by Thomson Safaris

Protecting rare and endangered species isn’t just about changing attitudes towards wildlife conservation; sometimes it’s as simple as changing the where of wildlife.

Like many African countries, Tanzania’s human populations often come into contact with its animal populations, and the trappings of an increasingly urban environment—less open space, highways choked with vehicles, and industrial byproducts, just to name a few—can make it hard for wildlife to maintain a foothold in certain regions.

Luckily, Tanzania had the foresight several decades ago to set aside fully 1/3 of its land for national parks, game preserves, and protected areas. By law, urban creep has been kept out of these regions.

So what do you do when the animal populations aren’t hanging out in the right places?

You help them move, of course.

That’s what happened earlier this summer in the Serengeti, where a pack of wild dogs—including several puppies—has been relocated. The pack had previously been living in another part of the Serengeti ecosystem located outside the park’s borders—and its protection.

Several decades ago, wild dogs thrived in the Serengeti, but their populations there have declined (in part because their territories regularly extend beyond park borders). Past relocation efforts, including two in 2012 and one in 2013, have been highly successful.

Wild dog puppiesThe pack’s puppies just before the Serengeti release


The most recent relocation took place July 12. Thirteen dogs were released near Nyamuma in Serengeti National Park (additional animals, including the puppies and their mothers, will be released shortly). Representatives of the Four Seasons Serengeti, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (a Tanzania-based NGO), the association of Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA), the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), the Grumeti Fund, and Tanzania Conservation Limited (a conservation-focused sister organization of Thomson Safaris) were all in attendance at the release. The Grumeti Fund has agreed to provide support for ongoing monitoring of the animals.

We’ll be eagerly waiting news about the success of this pack of rare, fascinating creatures (and keeping our fingers crossed that they like their new digs)!