Samburu-Laikipia Wild Dog Project

The survival of cheetahs and wild dogs depends upon sharing the African landscape with people and livestock, and this project is concerned with studying approaches for their sustainable coexistence. The project operates entirely outside protected areas, on private and community lands in Laikipia, Samburu, and Isiolo counties in northern Kenya. The project has four main objectives:

  • To develop sustainable tools to foster coexistence of wild dogs and cheetahs with people and livestock
  • To understand infectious disease risks to wild dogs and cheetahs and to develop sustainable tools to manage disease threats where appropriate
  • To promote landscape connectivity for wild dogs and cheetahs by identifying corridors and other landscape linkages
  • To extend techniques developed in northern Kenya to other cheetah and wild dog populations
Dedan Ngatia, Project Manager of the Wild Dog and Cheetah Project
Dedan Ngatia, Project Manager of the Wild Dog and Cheetah Project

Wild Dogs at Mpala

African wild dogs were again seen in Laikipia for the first time in 2000, after a long absence. This sighting generated the Samburu-Laikipia Wild Dog Project, which sought to identify a combination of traditional livestock management, conservation of wild prey, disease management and local outreach which could allow wild dogs to persist in a human-dominated landscape. Over the course of a decade, the project witnessed an 8-fold increase in the numbers of wild dogs in the project area. With the inclusion of cheetahs in 2014, the project was renamed to become the Kenya Rangelands Wild Dog and Cheetah Project. Unfortunately, due to the decimation of the local population of African wild dogs last year from canine distemper, it seemed like the end for the painted dog in Laikipia. Hope was reignited in mid-September 2018 when a new pack was spotted thriving on Mpala.

Institution: Zoological Society of London Institute of Zoology, U.K.

Primary Investigator: Rosie Woodroffe

Project Manager: Dedan Ngatia,

Project start: 2014