Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) is supporting the conservation of the endangered African wild dog population living in the Waterberg, Limpopo by providing a 2021 Toyota Hilux DC 4x4 and operational funding to the Waterberg Wild Dog Initiative (WWDI) for the next year.

The funding and Hilux will be used by the WWDI team to monitor the Waterberg Wild Dog population in the field and meet with community members to spread awareness, provide education, and further the understanding about the wild dogs and the human-wildlife conflict that occurs.

“The Waterberg Wild Dog population is an important population of some of South Africa’s last, free-roaming African wild dogs. Being a free-roaming population presents unique challenges to their conservation and WWDI is working to make their conservation a priority,” says Reilly Mooney, WWDI Project Coordinator.

“We are very grateful to Toyota South Africa for recognising the importance of the Waterberg Wild Dog population and supporting our efforts to conserve them through the provision of the Hilux and operational funding,” says Reilly. “The Waterberg is a mountainous area and having a dependable and capable vehicle like the 2021 Hilux is essential in enabling us to play a more active role in helping both the community and the wild dogs.”

African wild dogs are an endangered species due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, disease, and conflict with humans. In South Africa, there are fewer than 650 known dogs, many of which are confined to formally protected parks and reserves. The Waterberg Wild Dog population contains some of the country’s last free-roaming African wild dogs. This unique population ranges on the public and private game farms, nature reserves, and agricultural lands within the Waterberg. To conserve them, it is crucial that communities come together and protect them on private properties.

According to TSAM’s Manager of Internal Communications, Karen Strever: “We are so privileged to be involved in this project, and we truly hope that we can make a difference – no matter how small – in the preservation of our wild life. We recognise that the support for WWDI is a practical way in which we could help in the relentless task of protecting these national treasures. Toyota has also been involved in a number of similar initiatives, including anti-rhino poaching.”

The WWDI team supports Waterberg landowners by providing information about the wild dog packs, answering questions, addressing concerns, and working to develop sustainable solutions to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in a way that promotes coexistence between Waterberg farmers and the wild dogs.