A brief pause

Pamushana | June 2019

This pack was easy enough to find that morning – they were trotting down one of our main tracks, and were on the hunt. Some would go off on quick side excursions to see if any prey animals were in the area, but soon return to the pack and continue running with them.

I was following along comfortably but then they all dive-bombed through a mopane forest where the vehicles cannot go and I lost them. I waited on the other side, but to no avail. Chastising myself for losing them I thought it best to go and wait at the nearest water source as they had been going in that direction, but I didn’t think they’d be there yet. Sure enough some of them were! They must have given chase to something and missed, but they are so fast and can reach speeds of up to 56 km/h (34 mph).

They regrouped at the pan, caught their breath, some had a quick sip of water, and decided on the way forward. The adults crossed the pan tentatively. Wild dogs are very wary of water, not sure of its depth and what could be lurking beneath the surface. Only once they’ve established that it is very shallow and safe will they play – but there was no time for play this morning.

The yearlings were not as confident to cross the stream and stood anxiously on the bank awaiting further command. This gave me the perfect opportunity to race around to the other side and see if I could photograph them from the south.

The adults called the pups, letting them know it was safe to cross, and off they all went at pace, to hunt again. What a special sighting and opportunity to photograph them during that brief pause.