wild dogs are back in the sabi sand game reserve
It's been a long while since we have seen these magnificent creatures within our reserve. This specific pack that I am talking about has been moving around the entire Sabi Sand Game Reserve - which is about 60 thousand hectares - as well as into the Kruger Park. I have personally seen this pack in front of the gates of Skukuza and also up in the Manyaleti which therefore gives them an approximate range of ±100 thousand hectares. This is a huge home range for most animals but not for these canines. It has been recorded that the dogs can cover up to 100km in one day, which is an enormous distance.
Over the winter months the wild dog packs move into safe areas and den. This year they decided to den quite far north of our reserve, which therefore made sightings of the pack very rare. When they are denning they will stay within that area for up to two months, due to the fact the pups are too small to run with the pack. Once the pups near three months and are able to move at an adequate pace, the pack will start to move.
Last year the pack numbered 12, but they ran into lions and the numbers were reduced. This year during denning they were also very unlucky as the encountered lions again and a few pups were killed. The pack now numbers 6 adults and two pups.
The first time we saw them was about a month ago, when one of the rangers called in wild dog tracks - and when wild dog tracks are called in everybody moves as fast as the dogs do. Every ranger wants to see these elusive creatures as they are so rare and seldom seen. So when we had our first sighting it was absolutely incredible.
These dogs move around very early in the morning as soon as there is any bit of light on the horizon. They run at speeds of ±60km an hour, flushing out whatever poor animal is in the vicinity. They are one of Africa's most successful hunters as they move and work as a team. They use speed and stamina, not stealth, as they work in a coordinated unit to chase down and kill the prey. They don't kill like lions and leopard, by suffocating - they tear into the soft underparts of the animals, eating them on the run.
They are such efficient killers that they kill almost every morning and every evening. I once watched and witnessed this pack kill 4 large impalas in one morning.
These dogs live very short lives due to the fact that if they are not sleeping, they are running at speeds of up to 60km an hour for most of the morning and evening.