Well as I mentioned in the last post, we recently managed to identify at least seven different wild dog packs in the wild and beautiful 5000km2 Gonarezhou National Park. Here are some photos of some of them:
The Gulugi Pack: 4 adults, 6 pups
The Bopomela Pack: 7 adults
The Chalanda Pack: 9 adults, 9 pups
We managed to fit two collars to the Chalanda pack; one GPS collar and one VHF. This pack lives right on the Mozambique boundary of the park, in such a remote area it’s unlikely they would have seen more than a handful of people. They were certainly very wild! It took us a week of trying all sorts of things, but eventually we got close enough for me to put a dart in. And not just one, but two. Luck was definitely on our side!
Being able to monitor the pack’s survival and track their movements across into Mozambique will provide us with extremely important information about cross-border movements and threats outside the park. The collars will also help us understand how they survive where they do, how successfully they raise their pups and if the pack is acting as a source population for areas in Mozambique.
The other pack we managed to collar is the Machaniwa pack, also living right on the Mozambique boundary in the north of the park. This pack was denning at the top of a big cliff, so we couldn’t get anywhere near them in a vehicle and approaching on foot is hopeless (although we did try a few times – I still ache from climbing that cliff!!). So we had to make a plan 25C and eventually got a lucky dart in, thanks to a loudspeaker system, sounds of a dying buffalo calf and wild dog hoo call – and the curiosity of the dogs! We’ve called him Mowgli.
I’m heading back into the park tomorrow, and will hopefully have more news on some of the other packs when I come out again next week.