The African Wild Dog Conservancy (AWD Conservancy) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), non-governmental organization, working with local communities, and national and international stakeholders, to conserve the African wild dog through scientific research and education.
The AWD Conservancy has a community-based conservation project in two biodiversity hotspots in southeastern Kenya. This region is rich mosaic of protected areas and community lands under extreme threat, with at least 70% of the original habitat destroyed. Due to past civil strife little is known about the many threatened species there. This area is a potentially significant refuge for wild dogs and an important corridor for the metapopulation of the Horn of Africa, as well as for other threatened wildlife species. Virtually nothing is known about the conservation status and ecology of wild dogs in this region, including their interactions with people and potential impact on one of their prey species, the Critically Endangered hirola, Beatragus hunteri. This project has been identified as a wild dog conservation priority by the IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)/Wild Dog Species Survival Program.
The AWD Conservancy is currently working with AZA member zoos to better understand the process of pack formation in this socially complex species. This ongoing study aims to provide a scientific basis for establishing introductory guidelines to minimize stress, reduce risk of physical injury, and facilitate social integration when forming artificially selected packs. Findings have potential application for zoo management and translocations in free-ranging populations.