Fourteen South African wild dogs took a plane from Phongola, KwaZulu-Natal, to Mozambique on Monday afternoon.
They arrived at their destination at the Gorongosa National Park shortly after 17:00, Endangered Wildlife Trust’s David Marneweck told Business Insider South Africa.
“It’s awfully exciting… it’s the first time we are doing anything of this kind.”
The relocation of the wild dogs is a part of a programme to reintroduce carnivores to the Gorongosa National Park.
The eight male and six female dogs were sedated before boarding the plane and slept throughout the two-hour flight.
They were all vaccinated against canine distemper and rabies before leaving for Mozambique, as infectious diseases are a big threat to wild dogs
“There really weren’t any hiccups with their flight… the wild dogs woke up this morning without any growls - they seem happy,” Marneweck said from reserve.
They will spend the next few weeks in an enclosed site to get used to their new environment before entering the wild.
Wild dogs, along with other species, disappeared from the Gorongosa park during the Mozambican civil war between 1977 and 1992.
Since then, the park has reintroduced several animals to the area.
“With the abundance of herbivores, the natural next step is the return of large carnivores,” the Endangered Wildlife Trust wrote in a statement.
Marneweck explained that wild dogs are important in an ecosystem to keep buck numbers under control. “Wild dogs usually hunt the weakest, ill or injured members of a buck tribe which ensures that only healthy buck remain,” Marneweck said.
There are only around 6,600 wild dogs left in Africa, and the animals are considered some f the continent's most at-risk carnivores.