Over the past couple of weeks, the team at Chacma Bush Camp have enjoyed abundant sightings of a resident pack of wild dogs. Wild dogs cover a wide home range and they’re notoriously nomadic, but this pack seems to be quite local and have provided consistent sightings since May this year. The “textbook” sedentary denning period for the dogs is between May – Aug, a period of time where it’s commonplace to see wild dog pups exploring their new found freedom, and a flurry of activity from these co-operative breeders. We don’t know when they will be on the move, but they’ll probably return to the area during the course of next year.
At the end of last week Em Gatland grabbed her bulky lens and headed out into the thickets in search of the dogs. Guides tracked and found the dogs, while Em unobtrusively snapped a few images of these mottled canines engaging in “typical” wild dog behaviour.
These mind-blowing images showcase the various moods of our endangered African wild dogs, and it’s evident that Em has knack for visually documenting the essence of animal behaviour. Fractions of moments frozen in time, giving insight into behaviour. From a few of the images you can see a blur of excitable behaviour synonymous with the haphazard chaos that surrounds the wild dogs’ rather ceremonious greeting style.
Em says, “There are 10 dogs and 6 pups that have been regularly spotted since May this year. They’re always interactive and playful. I love how they’re always all over each other, like naughty siblings. This pack tends to favour the area around the waterhole so we often know where to find them. The pups are exploring their environment and tend to experiment with everything around them – this includes chasing jackals, and even trying to catch vervet monkeys!”