In the June edition of the guides’ diary, we announced our exciting discovery of a wild dog den site on our property in the Sabi Sand. Since then, we have been following the progress of the pack very closely and during August we noticed that the various den sites have been abandoned and the pups are now running with the pack. Although this means that we may not have the regular sightings we had when they were at the den site, it is exciting news as it means that the pups are more able to defend themselves and are becoming less vulnerable to predators. In other words their chances of survival have increased greatly, which is fantastic news for the wild dog population.
There are four surviving pups, with three having fallen victim to lions, which increases the pack size to ten. The pups are providing fantastic sightings as they spend a great deal of time playing with one another, which is usual among the young of predators. Also this practice of play aids in their development of coordination and muscle mass, which becomes vital as they start to join in on the hunting activities of the pack. On the day we followed the pups with the pack, they were located close to the lodges on the Sand river. From there, they were followed as they ran all the way to the southern sections of the Singita property, a distance of about 10 kilometres. Although the pups were noticeably tired towards the end of this mission and spent the majority of their time trying to keep up with the pack, this is an important step in their development and it won’t be long before they cover even greater distances as part of their daily existence.