We have confirmed the formation of a new pack of wild dogs!!
Admittedly it’s a very small pack – only two dogs at the moment – but every pack has to start somewhere, and we are thrilled by the discovery.
We became aware of the new pack last week, after Rueben managed to get photos of the dogs. On looking at the photos, I knew immediately that I recognized both dogs but it took me a few minutes to confirm which ones they were.
These are the pictures Rueben took:
Even though the only photos of the female were sitting down in water, I was able to identify her as Mushroom, a female that was born in 2008 and has since been a member of three different packs, the last being the Pita Pack which she founded with two of her sisters. She’s clearly decided it’s now her turn to breed!!
The male is from the Nyarushanga Pack, where he was the beta male in 2011.
We’ve called the pack Nzungu, which means ‘nut’ in Shona (don’t ask!) and look forward to following their progress as the denning season approaches.
Here’s the pack’s new (blissfully simple!) identikit:
We hope to see many more new packs forming over the next month or two. I’ll keep you posted,
We had an interesting day a couple of days ago starting with a report from Rueben that he had picked up a signal from the collar of the breakaway group of females from the Bedford Splinter Pack. We hadn’t seen these females (three in the group) for a couple of months, as their movements have been very extensive whilst searching for new mates. So we went out with the aim of downloading the GPS collar, which we eventually succeeded in doing after about 4 hours of trying to get close enough to them for the download to work without being detected!
Anyway, we got the download and then went closer to try and count them to see if all three were still present. As they jumped up to run off we caught a flash of not three tails disappearing into thick bush but at least 7 and possibly 9! So clearly the girls have found some friends!
Intrigued as to who the other dogs were, we checked for signal for all the missing collared dogs that we havent picked up in a while and, much to my surprise and delight, picked up the signal of a young male who split from the Maera pack over a year ago. So that was pretty exciting!
We also eventually managed to see them on the road briefly and get a few photos of a couple of the dogs, although we were looking straight into the setting sun so the light was very difficult. One of these I managed to identify from a camera trap photo at the 2009 Mapari Pack den!
So this new pack seems to be a mixture of dogs from the Splinter Pack, Mapari Pack and Maera Pack. At least…… We have yet to identify the others but will keep you posted. I’m also hoping that one of the females might be pregnant and the pack about to den, since obviously they now have breeding potential.
(In the photo above, the dog on the right is the one from the 2009 Mapari pack – I haven’t seen her since she was a tiny pup at the den!)
We decided to name the new pack the Pita Pack, and Rueben is out again to try to find them today, so hopefully I’ll have more news on them soon.
Well it’s that fascinating time of year again when the wild dog packs start to chop and change composition, as single sex sibling groups (usually) disperse to find new mates. We recently discovered that this has happened with the Bedford Pack and the Star Pack.
The other day Misheck found the signal of the Bedford Pack and when I got there to see them, the first dog I saw was the collared male from the Star Pack, Shreddy! It turned out that the pack was an entirely new pack, comprising 5 of the Bedford Pack females (including the collared female Twinspot) and 6 of the Star Pack males!!
Here is Twinspot (Bedford collared female) with Shreddy (Star pack collared male!)
Rueben and Misheck chose the name for this new pack and have named it Batanai Pack, which means ‘mixing’ in Shona. Here is one of the original Bedford Females we call Snowflakes.
It’s not yet clear who will be the alpha pair of this new pack, although the Star Pack alpha male is now in this Batanai Pack and his behaviour the other day certainly suggested he intended to retain the alpha-male status. The females are all youngsters – they have split off from their alpha female – so any of them could become the alpha. I’ll let you know!
It’s quite exciting when these new packs form and hopefully the forthcoming denning season will be a good one.
(I’m going to be away for a couple of weeks, so apologies in advance for the lack of new postings. I’ll write more as soon as I get back)
We have found a new pack, made up of three females from the Mapari pack and two males from the Teddy pack. One male and one female were first seen together on the 19th July and about two weeks ago they were spotted again with the other three dogs.
Baloo - a male from the Teddy pack
Roxy - a female from the Mapari pack
The two males playing
They don’t appear to be denning, but hopefully they will next year. We will also try to collar one of them when we find them again.
Just wanted to post a few pictures of our new wild dog pack. They are a very charismatic group, and very relaxed around vehicles which makes for wonderful viewing opportunities…
These photos were given to me by a guest who saw the dogs at a kudu kill
Such wondeful animals!
I’m hugely excited that I can finally report some good news here, in between all this nightmare of snaring. We have a new pack of wild dogs! They showed up on one of the northern ranches in the conservancy last week and have been hanging around the area since then. It’s a pack of 8: 4 adults and 4 pups and the pups are still quite small – they must have been a late litter last year. I don’t recognise any of the dogs except 1 male (the Alpha male) whom I have a photograph of from the south of the conservancy taken this time last year. We have no idea where the others have come from, or where they have been up until recently.
I was fortunately able to collar the pack a couple of days ago, so we can keep an eye on them and try to make sure they don’t get caught in snares etc. I asked the owner of the ranch if he would like to choose a name for the pack, and he passed the honour on to his young son, so the pack now sports the name of the Teddy Pack, with members Baloo, Yogi, Paddington, Koala etc….!
I’ll post some pictures soon, but just wanted to report the good news!