On the 6th of August conservation volunteers Linda de Haan, Eve Jackson, Marie-Claire Pagano, Cecilia Soderberg and Paule Garnero had the amazing opportunity of being involved in the collaring of a wild dog called Mango.
We received a call from Zama Zwane, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife wild dog monitor to say that Mango had been seen outside of the reserve with a bad limp, possibly caused by a snare.
Together we all headed into the wilderness area of iMfolozi Game Reserve (South Africa) on a mission to try and find Mango. This was a hit or miss situation, as she wasn’t fitted with a working collar, so we would have to try and find her by following her tracks.
We dropped Zama off at the fence so that he could go and look for Mango on foot. While he was doing this we went off to look for another pack of wild dogs that are hardly ever seen because they are denning in the wilderness. We got lucky and saw 12 wild dogs from the Tshokolwane pack that had made a kill in the river. We then followed the wild dogs, watched them have a cool off in a mud wallow and then head back to their den.
As we watched these wild dogs run up the hill back to their den where they would rest for the day, we got a call from Zama to say that he had found Mango and that she definitely had a snare around her leg. We quickly made our way back to the fence where she had been spotted and organised for a helicopter to come and chase her back into the reserve so we could dart her, remove her snare and fit her with an anti-snare collar.
9 hours after we had left camp, not knowing what the day would hold, we sat beside a darted wild dog, the snare removed from her foot and now fitted with a new collar. It required lots of patience, as skilled helicopter pilot (Vere van Heerden) and vet (Dave Cooper) took an hour to get Mango back into the reserve.
We are so blessed to work with such incredible animals and I consider myself lucky to be a part of a team of dedicated people working together to conserve and protect this species!
Photographs by Megan Lategan and Linda de Haan