[two_third_last]The team at Zambia Carnivore Programme (ZCP) have published an article in Scientific Reports on the impact humans have on painted wolf movement. This research is important for conservation planning and making sure different populations of painted wolves stay connected.[/two_third_last]
Painted wolves are known for having large home ranges and being able to travel vast distances. They have evolved to move in ways that avoid dominant competitors, such as lions and hyenas. In theory, this should also serve them well in avoiding humans when travelling outside of protected areas. Researchers from ZCP wanted to prove if the presence of humans affected where and how painted wolves moved.
Researchers tracked the movements of painted wolves inside and outside South Luangwa National Park. They found that human presence does affect painted wolf movement, despite their ability for fast long-distance movement.
The good news is that DNA analysis shows that painted wolf populations remain connected, despite the effects humans have on their movements. The population in South Luangwa is still able to connect to several other protected areas.
This research shows the importance of conserving large landscapes and protecting the connections between them. Painted wolves must be able to safely transit areas with a human presence. Domestic dog vaccination programmes, reducing human-wildlife conflict, and combatting snares are just some of the vital initiatives ZCP is undertaking to accomplish this.
These bold conservation projects will not be sustainable without the involvement of local communities. ZCP is committed to building the capacity of Zambians to conserve their environment. Their community and education programmes range from secondary school level to international graduate programmes. This important paper is a product of this commitment to the next generation of Zambia’s conservation scientists.
Please take a look at the Zambia Carnivore Programme website to learn more about how they are helping to ensure the future of Zambia’s painted wolves.