Game Warden

Let's see your wild dogs... (pics and video)

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Fantastic shots ... detail and quality, real pack life.

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@@SafariChick Thanks, we were there at the end of February. I forget how old the pups were, there were 2 litters with about a month's difference in age. They were far younger and timid than I had expected. We only saw one pack, the other was still denning. The area was also very green which made photography more of a challenge. On the plus side there was a lot of Elephant activity.

 

For up to date news follow LWC on facebook. They have a sizable pride of lions at the moment.

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@@IamFisheye thanks very much. I do follow them on Facebook and Instagram as well - waiting to hear news of new denning :)

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VISIT TO AFRICAN PAINTED DOG DEN SITE 1. July 2014.

The following images were taken in the Kwara Concession, Botswana in July 2014. On our final day in camp we were given the option of a long drive to visit the denning site of a pack of African Painted Dogs, we jumped at the opportunity. We left camp at 14.00 and arrived at the site at 16.30 after quite a challenging drive. On arrival the den site and entrance were immediately visible in a clearing in mopane woodland, it was apparently an old aardvark burrow. Initially all was quiet but within minutes we were joined by the pack which consisted of 15 adults/sub adults. The alpha female entered the entrance to the den and was then joined by 16 pups (6-8 weeks old), most of which began or tried to suckle. After 10 minutes the female retired into long grass to rest. She allowed another female to approach the pups, whilst some of the pups tried to suckle again they did not appear to be successful. The second female's role almost appeared to be as babysitter, she played with and entertained the pups for around 20 minutes before we left them in peace. The main pack by this time had become very agitated and left the area in single file to hunt. By December, 5 pups had been lost and by February 2015, the pack appears to have split, 6 & 19. (Kwando sightings data).

Image 1. The den site.

image 2. Close up of head of pack member.

Image 3. Alpha female.

Image 4. Alpha female with pups.

Image 5. Subordinate female.

Image 6. Subordinate female with cubs.

Image 7. The babysitter, alpha female sleeps top right.

 

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A very beautiful alpha female!

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Agreed - a very beautiful alpha female!

 

The dogs seem more blonde in botswana - i remember there was some chat about this in another thread although i cant recall which one. Is there a reason why?

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The dogs are definitely darker in Kenya and Tanzania. I do have to agree that the female is just gorgeous and the puppies are just so adorable.

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Shinde(Okavango Delta), last month

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Here are some photographs i took in April of this year in the south of the NCA, Tanzania. We were lucky enough to spend the best part of 6 days with a pack of 10 dogs.
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This was taken after the first time we watched them hunt. Their ability to scan the herd and select the weakest animal was incredible.

 

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After every snooze the pack performed elaborate greeting rituals, reinforcing the hierarchy and making sure every one knew what was what.

 

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This series was taken right at the end of the day. The clouds parted just at the last moment before the sun set, bathing the dogs in the most beautiful light. They were particularly accommodating!

 

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This is the very moment the Dog's switched from post snooze greeting session to the hunt. The abruptness of the change was astonishing. Even more astonishing was the distance they spotted their prey over.

 

 

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Over the six days we spent with the dogs we watched them hunt numerous times. 90% of the hunts we witnessed were successful and all of them made for rather raw experiences.

 

These images come from what was perhaps the most difficult encounter we witnessed. The pack selected the mother who was slightly injured and unable to keep up with the herd. However once she was surrounded, her calf rushed back to her side. The pack first ate the calf while its mother looked on, seemingly having lost the will to try and return to the herd. The dogs then approached the mother and these are her final moments.

 

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@@chrisf as you said, it was very difficult even to really admire the photos with the mother just resigned to her agonising fate. the monochrome pictures added poignancy to the event.

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@@Kitsafari if i am being totally honest, hiding behind the lens made this particular experience a little easier to handle. I still struggle, when i look at them, between wanting to have captured these moments and feel somehow like i invaded these final intimate and very violent moments. Perhaps anthropomorphism is not the right thing to do, although i find that rather hard to avoid.

Edited by chrisf
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@@chrisf trust me I know exactly how you felt. I witnessed a sick male lion battling a buffalo and bawling my eyes out throughout.

 

but it is such a huge privilege that they let us have a glimpse into their world - the dark side to balance the light side.

Edited by Kitsafari
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@christf you were so lucky to see dogs where you did. I also know how you felt because I saw a pack of 17 adult dogs quickly tear apart a warthog the last time that I stayed at Lagoon Camp; the squeals of the poor warthog i

as it was rapidly being pulled to pieces by Africa's most efficient carnivorous predator were just appalling. I have to say that two of my fellow passengers in the vehicle were reduced to tears. As the great Ant Kaschula said: "Everyone

does fall in love with wild dogs when they see them, except those who witness a kill." Then again that's nature. I also got to see for myself just how stupid warthogs are because that one ran from the protection of it's burrow directly into the pack.

 

I saw a family of warhogs do the same at Sarara but luckily the dogs weren't interested. I can only guess that the dogs were either too shocked or simply not hungry.

Edited by optig

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@@optig we got to see 2 different packs while down there this time and were very lucky indeed. We were the only ones in the entire area and watched them hunt to conclusion 6 times. As you mention, all of them are rather brutal affairs however i find myself hoping to see more of them on my next trip in January (back to Ruaha for this trip). I am still very much 'in love' with them.

 

In this case the efficiency of this pack's selection and hunt was mesmerising to watch time and again and to see large herds of wildebeest being moved around until a weakness was found to be exploited was something we never imagined we would see.

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@Chrisf Yes, it's amazing to see just how they work together in pack. They all have a role, even those that have suffered an injury are left to guard the puppies.

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Selinda, November 2005

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VISIT TO AFRICAN PAINTED DOG DEN SITE 2 - PART 1. July 2014.

(see 19th Dec 2016 Den Site 1).

On leaving Little Kwara Camp, we re-located to Lebala Camp, Linyanti, northern Botswana. This excellent camp is well known for providing it's clients with outstanding and reliable Painted Dog sightings. The den site is relatively close to the camp and has been used by the pack (in various configurations) for several years.

We drove to the den site late one afternoon and on arrival it was more than apparent that the pack was about to go out on a hunt. We were given the opportunity to either stay at the den and see the pups or follow the hunting party, everyone in our group wanted to go hunting, we would return the following day to see the pups. (see Part 2, to be posted soon).

The hunting party consisted of 6 adult dogs, one remained at the den. We followed the group for over an hour initially at a leisuely pace before driving at speed as they became more focussed on the possibility of a kill. Not entirely sure thrashing through pristine habitat is the most eco-friendly approach to observing wildlife. During the hunt a solitary hyena was chased away by the pack and an African Wildcat had a lucky escape. Eventually as it started to get dark we lost the pack so a kill was not witnessed, they were however successful as we made contact with them later in the evening as they returned to the den and they were covered in blood.

The following images were taken whilst 'Running with the pack', an experience I will never forget.

 

Image 1: The hunting party assembles.

Image 2: Thirsty work this hunting.

Image 3 & 4: Individual pack members.

Image 5: Whole pack, only just.

Image 6: Individual pack member.

Image 7: Unwanted help.

Image 8: Worst Painted Dog image ever taken, cannot press the delete button for some reason.

 

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October 2016 : South Luangwa NP

 

Some dogs in a pack of 35 individuals ....

 

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VISIT TO AFRICAN PAINTED DOG DEN SITE 2 - PART 2. July 2014.

(see 5 March 2016, Part 1).

The day after following the pack on a hunting trip we returned to the den site around 11.00, several of the pack members were asleep in the long grass adjacent to the den entrance. We parked up about 25 yards form the entrance and after a short wait the alpha female emerged along with her pups. We counted 8 adults and 18 pups. Several of them looked very frail indeed to the point that we were not very optimistic about their future, unlike those we had seen at den site 1 earlier in our trip. Our guide was of the opinion that they were around 4 weeks old. He told us that very unusually 3 females had given birth to pups in and around the main den and that at the time there didn't appear to be an established alpha female. However shortly after giving birth 2 females had fought and one had been severely injured. The victorious female, presumably now assuming the alpha female role took several pups from the wounded female to add to her own making 18 pups in the main den, she also killed a number. (Not sure about the accuracy of this information or what happened to the 3rd litter). Just before we left the den a female dog approached the alpha female and the pups and was attacked by the alpha female. We left the site after about 30 minutes having watched some of the pups feed and stumble about, to say the least very concerned.

We were absolutely amazed to learn that by the end of February 2015 the pack was still in good shape, consisting of the original 8 adults and 11 now sub-adults. They had relocated to the Lagoon Camp area and are possibly known as the Kwando Pack. They denned again in June 2015 and produced a further 8 pups. (Data: Kwando Sightings Reports).

Photography not too good , shooting into strong, direct sunlight.

Image 1: 3 Pack members, previously seen in Part 1.

Image 2: Alpha female centre with pups, plus male. Den entrance to left.

Image 3: Individual pack member.

Image 4: 3 Pups.

Image 5: Individual pup.

Image 6: Adult with pups.

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A pack of 11 on a giraffe-kill. They sure have an apetite! Erindi private game reserve, Namibia. 

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@The_Norwegian What! Did they bring down a giraffe? Was it a youngster?

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4 hours ago, Geoff said:

@The_Norwegian What! Did they bring down a giraffe? Was it a youngster?

A newborn as a matter of fact.. Not even a day old. 

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1 hour ago, The_Norwegian said:

A newborn as a matter of fact.. Not even a day old. 

 

Eek. A very short life.

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indeed. A rather emotional sighting, and also my very first wild dog-sighting, so was not quite sure how to feel. happy for the dogs to get a good meal, and sorry for the new mom trotting in the background and just lost her newborn..

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