Before the civil war that occurred in Mozambique, the Gorongosa National Park was one of the gems of Africa. Travelers from all over the world came to the park to see the abundant wildlife that roamed through the park’s boundaries. However, all that changed as a result of war, poaching and human encroachment upon the park’s boundaries. Many of the herbivores that are necessary for predators to have enough to eat died. All predators were seriously reduced in number.
One predator was completely eliminated from the park. The African wild dog completely disappeared as a result of poaching. Disease was also a major factor in the decimation of the wild dog population. African wild dogs were affected by distemper which is rampant in unvaccinated dogs throughout Africa.
Due to the efforts of wildlife conservation organizations and the government of Mozambique, the Gorongosa National Park is making a comeback. The herbivore populations have greatly increased. More lions are being born in the park, and the elephant herd now has a stable population.
In order to help return the park to what it once was, 14 wild dogs are being introduced back into the park. There are six females and eight males now running around within the park. These wild dogs have settled in nicely, and they are already hunting for prey.
Waterbucks are one of the wild dogs’ favored prey species. There are almost 50,000 waterbuck in the park, and wildlife officials are hoping that the wild dogs will help to keep the burgeoning population under control.
Wildlife conservation scientists and government officials know that the population that surrounds the park will need to be involved in the efforts to help wildlife if those efforts are to be successful. Education is underway so that if the wild dogs should stray outside the park, they will not be harmed. The local population will also receive monetary assistance so that they feel they are benefiting economically from the animals including the wild dogs.
Conservationists hope that the wild dogs will breed and increase the size of the pack. Wild dogs are highly endangered throughout Africa, and steps are underway across the continent to help the species.