The bushveld is fluttering with birdlife and flourishing with new life! During the course of last week, Warren Howson managed to film a rather unusual sighting – wild dog puppies. The African wild dog is an endangered species that leads a nomadic lifestyle. The dog’s denning period (roughly May – Aug) is when they lead a far more sedentary lifestyle and cease their nomadic ways. Wild dogs are cooperative breeders and while they normally cover a wide range during their nomadic period, the entire pack will settle into an area to help raise the pups. This time of year is when the denning period draws to a close and the pups are introduced into their wild surrounds – and Warren’s guests were lucky enough to witness their emergence into the wild surrounds.
Warren says, “So fantastic to spend some precious moments with the African wild dog pack and their energetic puppies. These tenacious and inquisitive young canines are learning the ways of the world through play with other pack members and within the safety of their den area. It’s truly wonderful to watch the next generation of these endangered painted dogs thrive. With numbers down to less than 6,600 total in the wild worldwide, this pack is reaping the benefits of a healthy impala population, having been spotted on the hunt numerous times nearby camp.”
Wild dog pups emerging from their safe haven was a highlight of the week, but most certainly not the only sighting enjoyed by guests staying at Ivory Wilderness Riversong Camp. There is a small herd of elephants that have been enjoying the fresh water from the Klaserie River that runs in front of camp. Elephants will travel far to seek out the cleanest and purest of water sources; and if water is scarce they will dig to access ground water. There’s also plenty of fresh vegetation sprouting from the riverbeds and ample supply of nutrients for our pachyderms. In terms of big cats, the River pride of lions was recently spotted in the riverbed feasting on a buffalo kill. And as for our birds? Guests enjoyed a delightful sighting of spoonbills taking advantage of the lowering water levels.
Warren reports, ” The wild dogs made a kill in the river in front of camp again. A leopard was spotted on the scene of a carcass along with hyena attempting to scavenge, when suddenly the wild dogs came rushing back towards the carcass, evidently having made the kill. Their tracks were surrounding the carcass, which was characteristically torn apart. The wild dogs grouped together and ran towards the leopard who retreated onto the cliff side. The wild dogs were triumphant this time!”