From the Kruger National Park came news last week that an entire pack of 13 wild dogs had succumbed to a vicious strain of the canine distemper virus. Following these deaths the Kruger National Park’s population of this endangered species is estimated at 180 dogs, almost half of South Africa’s population. The disease commonly affects domestic dogs and can also spill over to wildlife such as African wild dogs, hyenas, lions and jackals. It is suspected that the dogs may have contracted the disease through contact with a feral dog, or any of the other species infected by the disease.
The solution? Vaccination, especially of domestic dogs in communities surrounding conservation areas. An investigation to determine the best course of action is underway. Targeted vaccination of adult wild dogs is one of the options being considered. In the mean time members of the public have been asked to report sightings of wild dogs to assist management in determining the status of their health.
The dog featured here is one of the members of the Skukuza pack. The pack that was killed had their territory between Lower Sabie and Pretoriuskop.
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