The painted wolf. Described as a remarkably social pack animal, in fact, these packs are often fixed for the duration of their life. Within these close social structures, it is only the alpha pair that reproduce. The pups are then cared for by the entirety of the pack. With such endearing qualities, these loyal nomads are this Tuesday’s sighting!

Wild Dogs Extraordinaire Hunters

Wild dogs are sometimes overlooked when you consider our big cats. However, once here in the bush. There is a sudden yearning to see them. What’s more, when guests are told about the fact that they are extraordinaire hunters, yearning is turned up a notch. Patrick and scout Esco are out with a single guest, a private, intimate affair. Nothing better when pursuing wild dogs.

Wild Dogs Extraordinaire Hunters

The trio are out on lion plane searching for the slender Canidae, but they sit happily watching a sleeping hyena in the distance to the left. Meanwhile, to their right, drama unfolds. Impalas call their alarm, pukus scatter and baboons bark. A hunt! A wild dog hunt! Patrick, Esco and guest observed, jaws on the floor, helpless as the nimble dogs are off. Patrick shifts his gear into reverse, quickly back to first as he is appropriately in position and pursues the hunt. The dogs are off in the thickets by this time. But, do not fret, he has an idea of where they will end up. After roughly 30 minutes of searching, it seems our dogs have caught their prey and enjoyed their dinner. Although somewhat forlorn to have missed it, the three were delighted the dogs had been successful. Regardless, four males lions are a favoured distraction, the trio stumbled upon the males on their pursuit of the dogs. The three are entertained by their complete state of deep, undisturbed, sleeping bliss.

The sun begins to set, it’s time to leave the lions and enjoy the sunset with a Mosi and a handful of ground nuts. Patrick reverses and suddenly we hear an inaudible noise come from Esco. He spots the dogs galloping at full speed behind the car. They are chasing a puku and her calf. The calf is in grave danger, the dogs are on the calves heels. Death is imminent. The trio holds on tight as Patrick follows the hunt. A splash comes from the right, the calf is in the water. The dogs are still running. Complete chaos has broken out. The painted wolves are off, but they are chasing nothing and Patrick cannot keep up. In 140 seconds. Everything is over, all that is left is adrenaline pumping through three bodies.

By Anna Mansfield of Kaingo and Mwamba Camps in Zambia

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