Joburg Zoo to the rescue


The Johannesburg Zoo Wild Dogs Project has been nominated for the ANN7 South African of the Year Award in the Conservationist of the Year category and will be going up against five other projects for the coveted prize.

Agnes Maluleke, curator for carnivores at the zoo and manager of the project, said they were excited about the nomination because it meant someone was recognising the good work the zoo was doing to conserve the endangered species.

According to Maluleke, the project began two years ago with the intention to increase the number of African wild dogs whose population was declining at a fast rate. The aim is to increase their numbers before sending the highly social animals back to the wild.

“We have two males that arrived from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in 2014, and two females from Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre followed in July last year,” said Maluleke.

“The dominating male and female have since reproduced three pups born in November last year.”

Maluleke expressed a deep love for the wild dogs and said the project was very close to her heart. “I personally love wild dogs because they have well-organised social structures as compared to other carnivores,” she said.

“Their behavioral patterns are close to those of humans.”

The animals are fed once daily and given 10kg of meat. Maluleke said they tried to keep the dogs’ diet varied by giving them rabbit meat, dead whole chickens and guinea pigs.

Maluleke and her team will be up against stiff competition for the award which includes the Cape Nature’s African Penguin Project, Eco Solution’s Township Owl Project, EWT’s Livestock Guarding Project, the Kruger National Park’s Ivory Anti-Poaching Project and lastly the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project.

“We have managed to bring conservation into the suburbs, right into the heart of the people. We deserve to win,” concluded Maluleke.

To vote for the Joburg Zoo Wild Dogs Project you can send an SMS to ‘CONS + 4’ to 43043 or email to [email protected]

Lethu Nxumalo

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