The Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) is one of the last refuges for the endangered
African wild dog and hosts roughly one-tenth of the global population. Wild dogs in this area are currently
threatened by human encroachment, habitat fragmentation and scarcity of suitable connecting habitat between
protected areas. We derived genetic data from mitochondrial and nuclear markers to test the following
hypotheses: (i) demographic declines in wild dogs have caused a loss of genetic variation, and (ii) Zimbabwean
and South African populations in the GLTFCA have diverged due to the effects of isolation and genetic drift.
Genetic patterns among five populations, taken with comparisons to known information, illustrate that allelic
richness and heterozygosity have been lost over time, presumably due to effects of inbreeding and genetic drift. Genetic structuring has occurred due to low dispersal rates, which was most apparent between Kruger National
Park and the Zimbabwean Lowveld. Immediate strategies to improve gene flow should focus on increasing the
quality of habitat corridors between reserves in the GLTFCA and securing higher wild dog survival rates in
unprotected areas, with human-mediated translocation only undertaken as a last resort.