Dramatic population declines of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) led to a managed metapopulation approach for wild dog conservation in South Africa. Monitoring the survival and habitat use of packs reintroduced into protected areas (PAs) is an essential part of adaptive management and improving the health and, ultimately, the survival of the metapopulation. Our study describes the territoriality and habitat selection of a pack of wild dogs reintroduced into Manyoni Private Game Reserve (219 km2) in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Despite being introduced into a small PA, the pack only utilized half their available space (121 km2) and avoided the central areas of the reserve. Post hoc analysis of African lion (Panthera leo) localities suggested competitive avoidance was a strong factor in shaping the habitat usage of the pack; however, further research is required. Habitat selection also varied seasonally and with denning. Ultimately, we showed that spatio-temporal analyses can help identify high-risk areas within wild dog territories, such as hotspots of activity along fencelines. These analyses can then be used to increase targeted management of these areas, such as improving the maintenance of well-used fencelines, which is an important consideration for the sustained success of the metapopulation across small PAs.
African wild dogs