What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• It was popularly believed that poor care and handling was the reason all African wild dogs disappeared from the Serengeti National Park back in 1991, however, a recent study proves that competition with lions and hyenas was the likely cause.
• What can we learn about national parks and their wildlife conservation programs from this article? Even though the decades old theory was debunked, what does it say about the challenges of wildlife conservation?
In 1991, all of the African wild dogs that previously lived in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania completely disappeared. In the debates that followed, one hypothesisbecame particularly controversial: in a series of papers, Roger Burrows, a researcher from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom, contended that the "handling" of Serengeti's wild dogs by researchers had led to the animals' deaths.
In correspondence published in Nature in 1992, Burrows wrote that the blood serum of some of the African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) had shown rabies antibodies, suggesting they had been exposed to the rabies virus at some point. He said it was possible that the wild dogs had some degree of natural immunity to the rabies virus, and that darting the wild dogs with anesthetic and handling them, either to take blood samples from them, to vaccinate them, or to put radio collars on them, was extremely stressful to the animals
Read the full article on what happened to the Serengeti's wild dogs by Shreya Dasgupta at Pacific Standard