Bound Within Boundaries

Botswana Predator Conservation has teamed up with researchers from the University of Zurich to publish a study on painted wolf movements within protected corridors. 

The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) is the world’s largest transboundary conservation area, spanning five countries in Southern Africa. It is thought to provide vital corridors that allow wildlife to migrate and maintain genetic flow. However, whether these corridors actually matched the routes wildlife use had not been studied…until now.

The researchers collected GPS data from collared painted wolves between 2011 – 2019. They showed that the major routes used by painted wolves were mostly covered within the boundaries of the KAZA-TFCA. Areas that are commonly used but not protected are now identified as zones to be added under KAZA protection. 

The study also highlighted that not all areas the animals travel through are the same. The paths the painted wolves took passed through some countries where high human population density presents a major threat. The KAZA initiative can now take these country specific differences into account for management and planning decisions.

Painted wolves are known for their wide-ranging movement and need for large areas. This study showed how the model of a highly mobile species can be used to identify the most important areas for protection. Protecting the corridors that painted wolves use will then benefit other species, such as lions, cheetahs, and elephants, as well.

You can find the full study HERE, although it is behind a paywall. Click HERE to read a summary of the findings.