I’m sad to report that our only collared wild dog in Gonarezhou National Park was recently found dead in a snare. We found the carcass last month, but she had been dead since the 7th July according to the information on her GPS collar.
This was an adult female known as Strops – part of the Mabalauta Pack in the southern part of Gonarezhou. Just before she died, she went walkabout…. Far out of her usual home range – up through the whole park, across the huge Save River, into Mozambique then back down again (see the points on the map below). At one stage she walked over 40km in 12 hours! Although we never actually saw her in the months preceding her death, these sorts of long distance movements are typical of a single sex dispersing group of wild dogs which have split from their natal pack and are moving off to look for a mate.
Strops was killed by a snare around her waist and must have starved to death in her trap. The bite marks on the logs and trees around the carcass and the damage to the indestructible snare cable itself bear witness to the horrific struggle and suffering she must have gone through before she died.
This happened only a few hundred meters from Gonarezhou’s eastern boundary with Mozambique. Unfortunately we find a lot of our problems come from Mozambique and they are difficult to address because of the need for international collaboration and cross-border law enforcement. Nonetheless, we are trying to address the problems in collaboration with the official authorities and hope that we will be able to reduce the amount of illegal activities along this boundary area.