Last year we were lucky enough to have an African wild dog den established near to Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp, and for a period of time we got to enjoy the adorable presence of a couple of wild dog pups stumbling around the den and being fed regurgitated meat by the adult members of the pack (it was still adorable…). Now, a year later, we have been privileged enough to once again find an African wild dog den in the area! This small pack of only 3 adults has been in seen frequently over the last couple of months, and recently it was discovered that these endangered predators had set up a den for, reportedly, 9 little pups!
We treat the area with extreme caution, steering well clear of the den itself and never pushing boundaries. Up until this week we had seen the adult dogs hunting, drinking, feasting, and generally fussing over one another, but then, this happened!
This glimpse of the wild dog puppies was fleeting, but nonetheless a breath-taking experience for guests on board the game viewer! These pups stay hidden in the den during the first 3 weeks of life before emerging into the outside world for the first time and suckling as well as beginning to eat meat. During the first 3 weeks, the mother dog will stay in the den with the infant pups and the other pack members will bring pack partially chewed meat in their stomachs, which they will regurgitate for her to eat. African wild dogs are incredibly social animals and all members act to look after the young.
These hunting dogs land about 80% of the kills they attempt, making them much more successful hunters than lions or leopards. Wild dogs use their incredible stamina to tire out their prey and they work to separate herds of impala or wildebeest to catch the vulnerable members off guard. Once an animal is taken down, it is only a matter of minutes before the whole carcass has been devoured. A unique and remarkable method that has actually given these specialised predators a bad name, due to the fact that they don’t suffocate or ‘kill’ their prey before digging in and eating the flesh.
Watch the fantastic video recorded by Bjorn while on drive with his guests from nThambo Tree Camp – they arrived on the scene after the wild dogs had killed an impala and were just finishing off the last of the carcass. We are very lucky to have these highly endangered animals living naturally right here on our traverse in Klaserie!