May 2023

Wild Dogs at Dawn


Wild Dogs at Dawn

A pack of wild dogs spy-hop through the scrub, eyeing out a wildebeest and a distant herd of impala. Note the browse line made by giraffes on the pod mahogany tree, and the rest of pack waiting on the road.

Having no luck on the airstrip they reconvene on the road to weigh up their hunting options.

This was an incredible morning – there was a delicate veil of mist, the sun was rising, and the radio announced the presence of wild dogs on the airstrip. We were nearby, and got to see the pack of 11 trotting down the road, scouting about for hunting opportunities. The airstrip is a popular place for plains game to spend the night – being open it is more difficult for predators to sneak up on them. However, wild dogs adopt a shotgun approach to hunting, so avoiding 11 of them is near impossible. Some of the dogs spyhopped through the bushes to get a better view of what was on offer. They tried to intimidate a wildebeest bull into a chase, but he was not engaging. Some stray impala fled down the airstrip to the other end where the rest of the herd had gathered. The pack continued down the road and the impala fled in all directions, but the hunt was unsuccessful. These endangered animals have one of the highest hunting success rates, but that doesn’t mean every foray has its rewards. The alpha female is heavily pregnant and soon they’ll need to be feeding her too, and the new pups when they’re weaned. They reconvened on the road, just as the sunlight was breaking through the misty veil, creating one of the most mesmerising scenes I’ve ever seen.

By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide