This is a bit of a depressing and slightly gory post, but I think it’s important to show all side of the story in our efforts to conserve the wild dogs out here in Zimbabwe. Although we’ve had lots of puppies born and lots of good news to report, unfortunately we’ve also had quite a few dogs killed recently – and mostly by lions.
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve found 4 wild dog carcasses, three of which were killed by lions. The fourth carcass was too old for cause of death to be ceratin, but damage to the skull suggests possibly a lion attack as well. Two of the definite lion kills were of known dogs from the Mapura pack; an old male called Nyaminyami and a yearling female known as Tramp. Fortunately (if we are to try and find a silver lining in this), the attack happened away from the den, when the dogs were out hunting, so their pups were not harmed and their den not disturbed.
The other dog definitely killed by lions was an adult male from the Mapari pack (we suspect) but we were not able to identify him. The post mortem showed that he had had his spine broken by the lions.
The other carcass was too old to be identified, or for cause of death to be reliably established, but we believe it was a member of the Nyarushanga Pack which had been denning not far from where it was found. We have yet to see that pack well enough to see which, if any, dogs are missing.
At the same time all this was happening in Save Valley Conservancy, we also found our collared wild dog in Gonarezhou dead, having been caught in a snare. I’ll report on that in a separate post, as she was showing some extremely interesting movement behavior before she was killed.
So all in all a depressing couple of weeks, but just serves to highlight how important it is try to mitigate human threats, so that the combined impact of that and these natural deaths is less severe.
Back soon with better news I hope,