African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are the most endangered large carnivore in Southern Africa. There are as little as 5,000 individuals globally and less than 450 African wild dogs in South Africa alone. African wild dogs are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Therefore, the time has never been more crucial to conserve the species. With increased human encroachment and inhabitation in and around protected areas, so are increased conflicts between humans and carnivores. Human-wild dog conflict is likely to rise where a common resource is found. Human-carnivore conflicts have often been induced by the uncomfortably close inhabitation of humans in areas predominantly occupied by large carnivores. For this reason, it is becoming vital to establish a harmonious relationship between carnivores and humans. This research investigated the extent and causes of human-carnivore conflict specific to private landowners and the African wild dog in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa between April 2018 and January 2019. The causes of conflict in the Waterberg and levels of tolerance by the farmers for African wild dogs were investigated. The methodology was two-fold, using spatial analyses and an online survey. Three African wild dogs from the same pack were collared using telemetry collars (Tag 2651, Tag 2953 and Tag 3017). These data were used for the spatial analysis part of the research, using Geographic Information System (GIS) to determine the African wild dogs’ home ranges, movement patterns, and proximities to commonalities with humans and preferred land use. The private landowners possibly experiencing human-carnivore conflict were surveyed using an online survey (n = 81), and this information was used to determine the extent of conflict and tolerance of African wild dogs amongst the farmers in the Waterberg. The information gathered will be used by the Endangered Wildlife Trust to develop an early warning system for private landowners affected by the presence of free-roaming African wild dogs in the area. In general, English speaking farmers in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve were more tolerant of African wild dogs compared with Afrikaans speaking farmers. Results also showed that areas near food and water sources are high potential conflict hotspots. The results also showed that African wild dog movement patterns in Waterberg Biosphere Reserve have an influence on conflict hotspot areas during denning season, wet and dry months, different phases of the moon, and overall hunting patterns of African wild dogs. This research facilitated an understanding of aspects of utilisation, persecution, and how to mitigate conflict between humans and African wild dogs within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve.
Dissertation (MSc (Environment and Society))--University of Pretoria, 2020.