The Waterberg Wild Dog Initiative is a non-profit organization working to protect and conserve most of the last free-roaming African Wild Dog population in South Africa. African Wild Dogs are South Africa's most endangered carnivore, with only 450 left in the wild. The Waterberg population consists of 23 adult dogs that live in the Waterberg Biosphere of Limpopo, South Africa. The Waterberg Biosphere is a mountainous landscape made up of a patchwork of cattle farms, game farms, agricultural lands, and public and private nature reserves. Wild Dogs range into these unprotected lands and come into conflict with humans.
The Waterberg Wild Dogs are critically important to the whole species' survival, as they are genetically distinct from all the other dogs in South Africa. The Waterberg region also connects the Wild Dog populations in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, making it a crucial point for dispersing dogs. In 1998, there were 120 Wild Dogs roaming around the Waterberg. Then, in 2017 the population plummeted to only 5 dogs. Now, due to management efforts by the Endangered Wildlife Trust, we have 23 known adult dogs and 11 pups. This rise in population is great for conservation, however it increases the likelihood of conflict with humans.
The Waterberg Wild Dog Initiative is working to protect these dogs by working with local landowners, stakeholders, and other community and governmental organizations to mitigate this human-wildlife conflict. The WWDI works alongside the Endangered Wildlife Trust, however it is an organization run by the community and for the community, unlike anything that has been attempted with these Wild Dogs to date.
As a community organization, we rely heavily on support from individuals, organizations, and corporations that have conservation values in their hearts.