Captive rearing of orphaned African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Namibia: A case study

  • December 13, 2021
  • by Marker L. L., Honig M., Pfeiffer L., Kuypers M., Gervais K.


African wild dogs (AWDs; Lycaon pictus) are an endangered canid species facing drastic decline throughout their range due to habitat fragmentation and persecution by humans over livestock depredation, resulting in dens destroyed and adult members of packs and pups often being killed. Breeding of captive AWDs is challenging due to high juvenile mortality, only marginally improved from wild conditions, thus both in situ and ex situ conservation remains critical. As a result of human‐wildlife conflict, between 2017 and 2018, the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism confiscated three litters of orphaned AWD pups from rural farmers who had destroyed the dens in Eastern Namibia and placed the pups with the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Seventeen of the 18 pups were successfully reared to yearlings with 15 individuals translocated for eventual soft release into a private game reserve. This case study provides information on the successful rearing of three litters of orphaned wild dog pups on behavior, housing, husbandry, diet, growth and medical issues as limited information is available for rearing orphaned pups from the age of 2.5 weeks old.

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