Understanding how African wild dogs collectively make decisions, particularly around movement, is important in their effective conservation. How can we conserve them if we don’t know where they are going, and what factors influence these decisions?

Our ongoing work aims to understand how African wild dogs collectively make decisions, improving in the process our ability to make management decisions, and adding to the collective knowledge on this endangered species.

Lucy Ransome, a Griffith university PhD student and National Geographic Explorer, is focusing on the make up of wild dog social networks and the collective decisions that are made within them. Her work builds on our previous work, led by undergraduate student Hallie Walker, showing that that African wild dogs sneeze to leave, and employs a combination of traditional direct behavioural observation techniques and emerging low-cost and open-source tracking and recording technologies.

Lucy’s research is focused on understanding the underlying mechanisms driving wild dog movement behaviour (including collective decision-making, leadership, pack social structure and movements in response to other predators), all of which have a role to play in managing threats to this endangered carnivore.