As I mentioned in the last post, I recently went to Bulawayo to give a lecture, but in addition to that several talks had been arranged for me to give at different schools – both primary and secondary – around Bulawayo. At the risk of being boring, the topic was, of course, wild dogs!
The secondary schools got a relatively informative presentation, and I was impressed by the interest and questions afterwards, which showed a good understanding of the topic and a keen interest.
The primary schools were a little more daunting – what on earth do you do with 600+ children from 4 years old upwards?!
Well, after talking to them briefly about what wild dogs were, we soon got them up and about, with 1 being an impala and then ‘packs’ of 1, 3 or 10 ‘wild dogs’ trying to catch the impala, to teach them about the benefits of cooperative hunting. We also played other games with groups of boys and girls making packs, and then having to split up into single sex groups and run around until we shouted stop, at which point they had to quickly try to find a group of the other sex…. the mechanism (sort of!) by which wild dogs disperse and form new packs. It was all a lot of fun and the kids were wildly enthusiastic.
Altogether we spoke to about 11 different schools, and I hope that those students will not forget what a special animal the wild dog is. I must add my thanks to Netty Purchase and Phumizile Sibanda for organizing it all, and to Alliance Francaise for funding the program.