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Media Release: Counting spotted coats in and around KNP

Date: 2nd October 2008

From August 2008 to April 2009, the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Group (EWT-CCG) will once again team up with South African National Parks (SANParks) to conduct the 5th Wild Dog and 3rd Cheetah Photographic Census in and around the Kruger National Park (KNP).

From August 2008 to April 2009, the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Group (EWT-CCG) will once again team up with South African National Parks (SANParks) to conduct the 5th Wild Dog and 3rd Cheetah Photographic Census in and around the Kruger National Park (KNP). Members of the public can provide valuable assistance to this project and stand a chance to win great prizes, by submitting photographs of any Wild Dogs or Cheetahs seen during their visit to the region. 33

The Kruger National Park is home to one of the only viable Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) and Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) populations in South Africa. As such, an understanding of population dynamics in the park is essential for developing national strategies to improve the conservation status of these species. They are the rarest of the park’s large carnivores and their low densities and wide-ranging behaviour make them particularly difficult to count. Fortunately, researchers are able to recognise individuals of both species by their unique coat patterns, thus enabling an estimation of minimum population size.


If you see either Cheetahs or Wild Dogs, be sure to submit your
photographs!

Members of the public are encouraged to submit photographs of Wild Dogs and Cheetahs seen during their visit to the region, and report all sightings to a Census Hotline, manned by EWT’s field researcher Mariana Venter, on 076 725 5242 or census@ewt.org.za. Submissions should also include details of the location, time and number of Wild Dogs or Cheetahs seen. All photographs will be entered into a competition, with great prizes up for grabs. The project spans the length and breadth of the Kruger National Park, as well as the private nature reserves on the park’s western border, and Limpopo National Park to the east.

The first Kruger National Park Wild Dog photographic census was completed in 1989 and since then surveys have been conducted roughly every five years in 1995, 2000 and 2005. Wild Dog numbers have fluctuated between a peak of 434 (1995) and a low of 120 (2005). Cheetahs were added to the census in 2005, at which time 103 individuals were identified. The 2010 census has been pulled forward by one year, as previous intensive studies in the southern Kruger National Park came to a halt in 2005, and it has been some time since any detailed information was gathered on these populations. “Updated population data for Wild Dogs and Cheetahs in the Kruger National Park will facilitate the development of sound conservation strategies for these species, both nationally and regionally”, states Harriet Davies-Mostert, Manager of EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Group.

Participants stand a chance to win two nights at Tinga Private Game Lodge, and will also be contributing to the long-term conservation of these beautiful creatures. Entry forms are available at all gates and rest camps in the park, and sightings can also be reported to the Census Hotline Number (076 725 5242) or census@ewt.org.za . Please visit www.ewt.org.za for more information.

This project is funded by:

Land Rover South Africa Esor Endangered Wildlife Trust Tinga Private Game Lodge

Inquiries:
Marion Burger: Conservation Administrator
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Carnivore Conservation Group
Cell: +27(0) 72 799 6561
Tel: +27 (0)11 486 1102
E-mail: marionb@ewt.org.za

Issued by:
Hayley Komen: Conservation Programme Developer
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 (0)11 486 1102

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