Successful conservation of species that roam and disperse over large areas requires detailed
understanding of their movement patterns and connectivity between subpopulations. But empirical information
on movement, space use, and connectivity is lacking for many species, and data acquisition is
often hindered when study animals cross international borders. The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)
exemplifies such species that require vast undisturbed areas to support viable, self‐sustaining populations.
To study wild dog dispersal and investigate potential barriers to movements and causes of mortality during
dispersal, between 2016 and 2019 we followed the fate of 16 dispersing coalitions (i.e., same‐sex group of
≥1 dispersing African wild dogs) in northern Botswana through global positioning system (GPS)‐satellite
telemetry. Dispersing wild dogs covered ≤54 km in 24 hours and traveled 150 km to Namibia and 360km
to Zimbabwe within 10 days. Wild dogs were little hindered in their movements by natural landscape
features, whereas medium to densely human‐populated landscapes represented obstacles to dispersal.
Human‐caused mortality was responsible for >90% of the recorded deaths. Our results suggest that a
holistic approach to the management and conservation of highly mobile species is necessary to develop
effective research and evidence‐based conservation programs across transfrontier protected areas, including
the need for coordinated research efforts through collaboration between national and international
This file contains GPS locations of the dispersing African wild dogs. Animal ID and Timestamps are linked to each random_identifier and available upon request to the leading author.
This file contains villages, cattle posts and crop fields in the vicinity of dispersing dog relocation data. This is not an exhaustive representation of all villages, cattle posts and crop fields across the entire study area.
Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: 31003A_182286
National Geographic Society