Recently we have been extremely lucky to have a pack of wild dogs join us on Kapama Private Game Reserve. The African Wild Dog, or “painted dog” is listed as endangered on the IUCN RED LIST and is the second most endangered mammal in Africa. With home ranges of up to 1000 square km and almost always on the move, together with numbers thought to be less than 5000 and not even 300 in the Kruger area, you can imagine the excitement amongst the rangers.
The first time I heard them being called in, I was very confused. When rangers talk about animals over the radio, we use the local Shangaan names for the animals. I heard them call the wild dogs by their Shangaan name, I had to ask my tracker Godsave, what was being called in, as it was a first for me. Once I knew what the species was, my heart rate and excitement skyrocketed.
The ranger that had spotted them earlier said it looked like they were ready to be on the move again. Now just keep in mind that when wild dogs are on the move, they can travel incredible distances in a short period. So, I knew that keeping up with them would be extremely difficult. But with hopes still high I made my approach.