So why Wild Dogs?
game reserve is known to so many people as the best chance of seeing wild dogs.
Even field guides flock here for a chance to work with the dogs, but why? So
many people have actually never even heard of wild dogs, never mind why everyone
is so crazy about them.
lets first look at what wild dogs look like. They look just like any house dog,
with long legs and large round ears. On their fur is a beautiful pattern which
gives them their scientific name Lycaon
pictus, which means painted wolf. Each of the dogs patterns is unique,
just like a humans finger print. This makes them without a doubt one of the
more beautiful predators on the continent.
wild dog is probably one of the most successful predators on the African
continent. They use a “line of sight” style of hunting, where they will sneak
up on prey, and once close enough, chase after the desired target in a burst of
speed. Wild dogs can chase an animal for over 5km while running at speeds of up
to 48kmph. Rather than pulling down their prey they run it until exhaustion and
basically eat it alive. This is a brutal, but efficient way of hunting.
dogs are very pack orientated animals, with an intricate social structure
within the pack. The pack is led by the alpha pair, whom are the breeding
members of the pack, all the other members do all they can to assist in the
rearing of the alpha pairs pups. This dedication to each other is what
fascinates so much about these rare animals. Their bond is incredibly strong
and they are constantly touching and playing to reaffirm this bond. They never
leave a member of the pack behind, and they will defend each other with their
lives. There have even been records where the alpha female died, but the males
in the pack were still able to raise the pups up successfully.
these characteristics and traits and squeezed are squeezed into the wild dog to
make them one of the worlds most perfectly designed predators. Their
entire life is built around ensuring their future is assured, and they have
evolved the capability of doing this to the best of their abilities. All
of this and yet they are disappearing from our planet faster then we have a
chance to save them.
dogs need an immense space to exist, some hunting ranges expanding over 2000km,
and because of human encroachment they are simply running out of living space.
The wild dog is also highly susceptible to various canine diseases. The was
also a well-practised rule in various parks throughout Africa to shoot these
perfect predators on sight as late the 1960’s because of the belief that the
killed domestic and game species.
African wild dog is one of the flagship animals of conservation in Africa, and
there are so many efforts to save these exceptional animals. Madikwe is one of
these efforts where we host a pack of five wild dogs, whom are living
successfully and happily within the reserve. They recently have had pups, but
no one knows just how many yet.
many people come from far and wide to see and work with this perfect predator,
the wild dog, and without all these people they would already be gone.