Wild Dogs rescued from snares

By Ronja Haring, field officer, Carnivore Conservation Programme


The dangers emanating from snaring for bushmeat and the importance of monitoring wildlife for threat mitigating was again highlighted during the most recent call-out by the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme’s field officers.

We were informed that a Wild Dog with a snare around its waist had been spotted outside the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. The dog is from one of the dispersal packs that we monitor closely and due to the GPS collar, we were able to track them down without delays.

Fortunately, we could dart and free him of the snare. Although the snare cut deep and some stitches had to be put in place, no vital organs were injured.

Alarmingly though, we realised that he was not the only dog with a snare. We struggled to make out how many of the five dogs in this pack were affected as our window to act was closing. So we promised to return soon to treat the remaining dogs. 

Shortly after, we were back in the field to continue where we had left off. Once we located the dogs, we grabbed our binoculars and had a close look at each individual. It is easy to spot the big, slashing wounds. But in the beginning fresh wounds from snares are difficult to sport because they are sometimes so subtle, even though they rarely stay that way. Often, once the snare has broken through the skin, which serves as a natural protective barrier, severe damage is caused in a short time. 

We were soon facing the fact that this mission wouldn’t be an easy one because three  more dogs had to be caught and treated. Strategically and with enormous patience, we managed to dart all three of them in one go.  

Considering that 4 of the 5 dogs were affected, the entire pack could have easily been wiped out. Dedicated to protecting our endangered wildlife, we will do everything in our power to mitigate these threats and respond to emergencies.

The dogs treated by a veterinarian in the veld are all recovering well.