South Africa: The sad story of a wild dog pack

Canine distemper is a serious threat for members of the Canoidea. A pack of wild dogs in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park has now died of the virus. Learn more in our blog


Recently the EWT announced that a pack of wild dogs had died in the northern part of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. Luckily drought and poaching did not cause the death of the pack – but the Canine Distemper Virus is now causing a new threat.

During a routine patrol through the park the pack was tracked down, thanks to a GPS collar which one of the females was wearing. The GPS signal had shown that the animal did not move for 36 hours which seemed suspicious to the park rangers. When the rangers approached the localized collar, they found a number of dead wild dogs. Some animals of the pack were still alive but showed signs of the disease like shortage of breath. The team tried to help the sick animals but in the end they all passed away. Vets assume that the pack was infected with the Canine Distemper Virus, but it cannot be said for sure, until the results of the final blood analysis are published.


Wild dogs are one of the most endangered species in South Africa. The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is home to the second largest population of the country, following Kruger National Park. After the passing of the pack there are now 6 packs and 57 wild dogs left in total in the park.

The remaining wild dogs are now supposed to receive a new vaccination against the virus and it will be researched for how long this vaccine can protect the animals.

FYI: The Canine Distemper Virus is a viral disease which is known among domestic dogs worldwide. But also cat species, wild dogs and bears are especially vulnerable to the virus. Some of the symptoms are fever, diarrhea and vomiting, shortage of breath and damage to the central nervous system. The number of animals infected with the virus has increased over the last couple of years which is why preventive vaccinations are important.

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