Title page for ETD etd-11122010-164610

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Edwards, Janet Marguerite
URN etd-11122010-164610
Document Title Conservation genetics of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus (Temminck, 1820) in South Africa
Degree MSc
Department Animal and Wildlife Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Ms H T Davies-Mostert Co-Supervisor
Prof P Bloomer Co-Supervisor
Prof M J Somers Supervisor
  • Kruger National Park
  • African wild dog
  • South Africa
Date 2010-09-02
Availability unrestricted
The African wild dog Lycaon pictus is Africa’s second most endangered carnivore. Only 14 out of 39 countries in Africa still have wild dogs present. This makes the populations of wild dogs in South Africa very valuable with respect to the entire species. Kruger National Park (Kruger) has the only self-sustaining and viable population of wild dogs in South Africa, making Kruger the core area of conservation for South African wild dogs. It is of vital importance to know the numbers of wild dogs present in Kruger. In chapter 2 of this dissertation I monitored and gathered demographic information from as many southern Kruger wild dog packs and individuals as possible over a three month period. I used real time text messaging to collect the information. A wild dog hotline number was used for tourists to contact immediately after they sighted a pack, noting location, time and number of wild dogs sighted. This new technique resulted in more than 300 reported wild dog sightings in three months enabling a count of individuals and packs. This also created an opportunity to take identification photographs and to collect DNA samples.

In 1997 it was decided to establish and manage several small wild dog populations in various geographically isolated reserves in South Africa as one large managed metapopulation. In order to simulate the natural dispersal patterns of wild dogs, individuals are translocated between the managed metapopulation reserves, imitating natural gene flow and hopefully preventing inbreeding. To date, all decisions have been made using demographic data only. This in time is likely to result in a loss of genetic diversity and subsequent inbreeding. The aim of chapter 3 was to obtain genetic information from wild dogs in the managed metapopulation and Kruger (chapter 2) to provide a basis for sound population management including monitoring of inbreeding and maintaining levels of genetic diversity similar to those found in large self-sustaining populations (such as Kruger). This study included both mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear microsatellite loci to determine the genetic structure of South Africa’s wild dogs specifically with regards to genetic diversity, population structure and relatedness. The results showed a difference in historical and recent diversity between the managed metapopulation and Kruger. Two genetic clusters were evident in South Africa, however one was due to wild dogs from Botswana being translocated into the managed metapopulation. After the Botswana influence was removed from the analysis, three genetic clusters were observed in the South African wild dogs. These three genetic clusters comprise too few wild dogs to manage them as separate units. Relatedness between and within populations, reserves and packs were estimated and can in future be used to guide translocations of wild dogs to maximise their genetic variability. It is suggested that due to the low numbers, and historical and recent trends in genetic structure of South Africa’s wild dogs, they should be managed as one unit, allowing movements to and from neighbouring countries. All translocations should follow an isolation-by-distance pattern.

© 2009 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

J M Edwards, JM 2009, Conservation genetics of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus (Temminck, 1820) in South Africa, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11122010-164610/ >


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