A while back I wrote a post where I told you about african wild dogs being found on the premises of The Beans school. The school is on a game reserve called Raptors View on the outskirts of our town. This reserve is also a wildlife housing estate where home owners build their homes on 1ha plots in the game reserve.
The children were warned to walk in pairs just in case they encountered the dogs on the school premises and small children must always be accompanied by an adult. There are no known cases of a human being attacked by a wild dog, however they are still wild animals that hunt for their prey so necessary caution must be taken. There has been some heated debate about the dogs and a few residents of Raptors View wanted them moved back to the next door reserve where they originated from.
The dogs hunt in packs and were sometimes using the buildings on the reserve to assist in herding their prey into a corner to catch them. I have heard a few stories of buck running into houses and jumping through plate-glass windows in order to get away from the dogs.
On Monday I was driving through the reserve to visit friends and was lucky enough to spot the dogs. My photos are a little fuzzy because I was so excited to get the shots and my battery was about to fail. I could not sit still 🙂
In my opinion, when you decide to live on a game reserve, you are moving into the animal’s territory. The animal has the right to protection, habitat and food before you do.
Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and they are among this continent’s most endangered species. It is estimated that a mere 3,000 – 5,000 remain.
Lycaon pictus is a large canid found living in savannas and other lightly wooded areas. It is commonly called the African Hunting Dog, African Wild Dog, Painted Wolf, Cape Hunting Dog, Painted Dog, Painted Hunting Dog, Spotted Dog or Ornate Wolf. The scientific name “Lycaon pictus” is derived from the Greek for “wolf” and the Latin for “painted”. It is the only canid species to lack dewclaws on the forelimbs.
African Wild Dogs are intensely social animals, living most of the time in close association with each other. While a minimum of six dogs are necessary to successfully hunt and breed, a pack can be as small as a pair, or as large as thirty. Pack allegiance, such as pups getting first feed at a kill or members caring for the sick and injured, is an integral part of pack survival.
The power structure resides in an alpha male and female pair, whose pups are nurtured by ‘baby sitters’, regardless of their mother.
Prey for the African Wild Dog is mostly medium-sized antelope like Impala, Bushbuck, Duiker, Kudu and Reedbuck. They have been known to take Wildebeest and also chase Eland and Buffalo, although they rarely kill these larger animals.
The strength of the African Wild Dog pack is attributed to three unique aspects of behavior – socialization, vocalization, and hunting methods.
Socialization clearly translates into the unity that is formed between bonded peers and pack leaders. The dogs clearly mourn deceased pack members, which is a sign of emotional ties.
Adding to this is the trait of the African Wild Dog to vocalize – communication is a vital, unique, and important strength of pack unity.
Finally, the African Wild Dog hunting methods keep the pack strong. An average adult dog will consume approximately nine pounds of live carcass each day, which would equate to an Impala per day for a pack of 15 dogs.
Among the fastest and most efficient of Africa’s predators, African Wild Dogs hunt during the morning and before dusk, and also show a preference for utilizing the light of a full moon. Their goal is to draw minimum attention from stronger predators. But while they share the victory of tireless pursuits with the pack, often the longer chases end with more powerful competitors, such as the hyena, stealing their rewards. Goaded to hunt and devour quickly, the African Wild Dog has perfected the fast kill. The positive consequence may be that the its method of killing ultimately shortens the suffering of the prey.
Information from http://www.painteddog.org/