Formation of a new pack of endangered African wild dogs in the Save Valley Conservancy

Hi Folks,

I’m excited to announce that finally our three dispersing girls have found some males!  The three girls were originally from the Nyarushanga Pack, all born in 2010.  In April this year, we found they had dispersed from their pack and they’ve been wandering round the conservancy ever since.  Friends came round a couple of days ago with photos of a pack of seven dogs they had seen, and I was super excited when I had a look through them and realised that at least two of them were the dispersing girls.

This is Rocky; a very distinctive and beautiful female from the Nyarushanga three:

The question thus remained; who were the others….?  After a quick flick through our photographic database, I was able to match at least two of the other dogs; they are yearlings from the Disney Pack, both born last year.  We rarely see the Disney Pack; they are uncollared and have an annoying penchant for staying in thickets at the top of hills, so the best photos we had of these boys was from the camera traps at last year’s den.  Nonetheless, it was enough to ID them, as this pair of photos shows:

Birdman as a 4 week old pup in 2011:

Birdman in November 2012:

The other ID’s unfortunately aren’t so easy.  Between the three Nyarushanga girls, and the two Disney boys, it accounts for five dogs, so who are the other two?  Unfortunately the pack was was very curious when being photographed, which means most photos are of their fronts, not side shots which we use to ID them…

Eventually however, we got a side ID for the remaining two, and they seem to be unknown to us.  Bizarrely, one also appears to be a pup (on the right in the following picture) which is very odd.

It’s very unusual that a new pack will form with a pup, and also from more than two different groups of dogs.  The Disney males have no other living siblings and its not their parents, so the other two dogs are definitely unrelated again…. Interesting.

As we get better photos and more info, I will hopefully be able to solve the mystery, and will let you know.

For now, we have called the pack the Orongo Pack and look forward to following their progress in the lead up to next years denning season


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  1. Darren
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Is there a way of donating directly to this wild dog project?
    Many thanks

  2. John
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    Nice to see that birdman has grown into healthy looking dog! He was fiestly looking pup!!

  3. Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for your interest in donating too the project. I will send you an email with ways you can donate directly to the wild dog project, but if you are happy using paypal, you can make a donation through our website ( and just state in the comments that it is speccifically for the wild dog project.
    Many thanks,

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