Wild dogs reveal themselves in Kruger National Park
After looking for wild dogs for weeks across Africa, all of a sudden there they were: on a paved road in South Africa.
And there they were, African wild dogs.
After traipsing through some of east Africa and southern Africa’s most famous wildlife reserves, I hadn’t seen wild dogs.
And most certainly not like in this tweeted video: in the jaws of a lion and living to tell about it.
I had seen the big five and most every other wild species you can imagine, except for some of the rare antelopes, the honey badger and wild dogs.
Wild dog packs (see tweet above) once lived widely in Africa, from the edges of the Sahara Desert down to the South Africa cape. They still range widely, but mostly in small, isolated and mobile packs. Trying to find them is a crap shoot.
Several famous reserves, Serengeti in Tanzania, Maasai Mara in Kenya and Etosha in Namibia, are believed to have no wild dogs.
And, suddenly, there they were in Kruger National Park in South Africa, after not seeing them in a five-day previous visit to the park and on the ninth of 10 days on this visit.
A wild dog pack was walking on the paved road, letting me roll down the window and take close-up photos as I drove by, on the way to Lower Sabie camp.
About 6,600 wild dogs live in 39 populations around Africa. Their habitat has been fragmented and individuals shot and poisoned, vastly depleting historical populations. Kruger National Park has about 400 wild dogs.
As I was driving with the dogs, an impala stepped out of the bush onto the pavement, glanced left and saw the pack of dogs walking toward it.
If the impala had been wearing pants, they would have been soiled. It bolted into a run and for whatever reason the dogs let it go without giving chase.
They must have been too busy posing for me.
NOTE: A giant of a man died today in South Africa: Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This post on wild dogs has nothing to do with Mr. Tutu, other than that I had the post ready. Mr. Tutu was the second most influential South African during his 90 years of life and he surely would have loved the spirit of Africa’s wild dogs. Mr. Tutu will never be forgotten.
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