African Wild Dogs have vanished from Liuwa Plain National Park in unclear circumstances.
Liuwa Area Warden Gabriel Masaku said the wild dogs were last spotted in the park sometime in 2013 and that operations to establish their whereabouts have proved futile.
Addressing concerns raised by traditional leaders during Lewanika Community Resource Board (CRB) meeting held in Kalabo Council Chamber, Mr. Masaku said it was difficult to trace the wild dogs because they had not been fitted with satellite collars.
He noted that the wild dogs could have migrated to neighbouring countries or wiped out by rabies.
He however said the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) was seeking technical support from Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) which has been partnering with African Parks in collaring predators and undertakes research in Liuwa.
The development has angered Area chiefs who have demanded that both African Parks and DNPW table a comprehensive chronicle of events and circumstances surrounding the specie’s disappearance from Liuwa’s ecosystem.
Chief Lioko of Likulundundu chiefdom wondered why traditional leaders and other key stakeholders had not been informed about the disappearance of the wild dogs, arguing that the specie was fitted with telemetry radio frequency collars.
And Chief Kakuya of Luoke Chiefdom said African wild dogs were one of Liuwa’s pride and wondered how all the packs could have migrated from an ecosystem where they lived for centuries.
Meanwhile, Chief Mwanamambo of Mushukula Chiefdom charged that ZCP should be made to account for the missing wild dogs despite fitting them with collars and monitoring their movement and behaviour patterns.
And Chief Akabati of Nyaala Chiefdom urged DNPW to expedite the search, wondering why the department has adopted the use of footing scouts instead of technological systems such as satellite and other aerial advancements.
Chief Likubi of Upangoma Chiefdom however urged DNPW to set up strategic check points around Liuwa Plain National Park in order to avert the possibility of wildlife trafficking.
The traditional leaders have since resolved to set mid-October as an ultimatum for African parks and DNPW to issue a comprehensive report regarding the disappearance of the African wild dogs.