Apologies for being quiet on the blog recently without any explanation – it’s a pretty busy time here at the moment, and while we have lots of exciting things to report, I’m just not getting the time to do it. Anyway, here I am at my desk, and the reason we’ve been quiet for so long is because we’ve been working in the beautiful and remote Gonarezhou National Park, where I am now running the Gonarezhou Predator Project. We were hoping to find the den sites of the two main packs of wild dogs in the park, and possibly even collar them. We also wanted to check up on our collared lions and download their collars, amongst other things.
Well, it turns out we were being a bit optimistic with the wild dogs. Despite endless hours every day looking for tracks and following all signs of dogs, we failed to locate either pack. It’s not the easiest terrain for tracking wild dogs, and roads are few and far between…
We did however learn a lot more about the dogs and their behavior from the spoor, so although we never saw any wild dogs, it’s been a very informative 10 days. Rueben has, as always, been a star, and worked tirelessly in all conditions trying to locate the dogs
On several occasions our tracking brought us down to the edge of the Runde River – no shortage of signs of hippos and crocs:
Crocodile tracks – of a monster croc!!
We’ll try again with the dens and collaring in August.
We were much luckier with the lions, managing to pick up all three collared groups without too much effort, and downloaded the two GPS collars without incident. The other group, with a VHF collar, we found near a road so we waited there till after dark in the hope we would see them, which indeed we did. It seems our collared lioness is currently with one subadult male – the other seven members of the pride we saw the following day when downloading the GPS collar.
So, we won with the lions but it’s definitely 1:nil to the wild dogs this time. We’ll try again in a couple of weeks.