Wild dogs at work!!! - Madikwe Hills Menu

Wild dogs at work!!!

By Jaco on August 24, 2009

Most amazing predator interaction and social behaviour ever!!!

The morning started off as any other. It was bone chillingly cold and a ruthless ?Afriarctic? wind cut through our bodies as we prepared ourselves for the morning game drive. The best thing about a cold winter?s morning is a warm cup of coffee and the piping hot anticipation that radiates from every guest and rangers alike. What is waiting for us today? We set off looking like Eskimo?s to confront the African dawn. At first things were quiet, too quiet for my liking but we pushed on looking for fresh signs of any activity. We found some giraffe standing in the now risen sun, soaking up every last little drop of sunlight to thaw out from the previous night?s cold.
My radio crackled once, twice, nothing came through I could understand. Then as if the radio finally woke up the call was loud and clear. The wild dogs are on the plains and are set for the hunt. I swung my vehicle around and headed straight towards them. Nicholas found them and just before I arrived he announced that they had set off at great speed after an ostrich. Soon after I arrived close to where they lost their visual and had to slam on my brakes. Like lightning an adult Wildebeest and a sub-adult came out of the bush running like the devil himself was after them. After a closer look I saw that there were three devils after them, they were in close pursuit and gaining quickly on the now exhausted animals. They disappeared from view and not long after we could hear the distress calls. They got hold of the sub-adult wildebeest not far from us. Then another distress call, as confusing as it was I realised that they got another one. What happened is that as the pack pursued the ostrich they stumbled across a herd of wildebeest with youngsters. In the confusion the herd split up and so did the dogs, leaving the ostrich to a lucky escape. Eventually with their unbelievable stamina they ran down two sub-adult wildebeests, one in the central part of the plains and the other in the eastern part. I arrived at the one in the central part with a most disturbing scene awaiting me. Raw nature was playing off right in front of us.

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He eventually collapsed as a result of blood loss and shock and not five minutes after his death the first scavenger arrived on the scene. The hyena was timid at first because he knew he was alone and being that he could easily be chased off. The dogs did chase him on several occasions, but in the most unbelievable show of submission and some good acting he got into the kill and got a bite or two from the one side as the dogs were feeding from the other. He was masterful in his approach. The Hyena is a scavenger, hunter and apparently Brad Pitt, without the looks. None the less he got what he wanted.

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But the feast was to be short lived in the end. With the amazing amount of noise that the whole scene generated it was not too long before the real boss arrived. While we were watching the dogs scattered in all directions and were gone in five seconds, only the hyena remained. Her shape was unmistakable in the tree line, and she was ready for some serious confrontation. As she came out of the bush her focus fell on the hyena and with no hesitation she charged at full speed after him. I can tell you this; you don?t know how fast a lion is until you have seen it charging with intention with your own eyes. If that hyena didn?t have a head start of 200m he would have been toast. She came back a moment later and took what was left of the carcass to the nearby shade and enjoyed the spoils of war.

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The dogs got what they came for and with bellies full they returned to the puppies that afternoon. I was waiting for them at the den knowing that they will bring back a ?doggy bag? for the pups. One by one they arrived at the den and started regurgitating huge chunks of meat for the hungry and begging little puppies. Happy and satiated they all settled down and caught up with some well deserved sleep. WOW!

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7 thoughts on “Wild dogs at work!!!

  1. Hi Jaco – what an amazing story!!! What I do know is that you are writing an article for our next SEASONS IN AFRICA MAGAZINE, so start thinking about what you will cover.

  2. Hi Jaco
    Wat n ongelooflike ervaring moes dit nie gewees het nie. Ek glo dat jou kennis van die natuur en die wildlewe n groot rol hier gespeel het. Bou so voort. Ons weet jou hart le in die natuur.

  3. How lucky you were, Jaco!
    we have been on game drives many times but we have never seen a killing and this was a very spectacular one! And your pictures are really nice: even if you hadn’t written a word about it, your pictures really speak!! they are so cool to tell the whole story!
    we were very surprised about how the wild dogs puppies have grown in a month: with Werner we saw them last 25th July and they were so small!!! Lots of greetings to everyone
    Anna and Francesco from Italy

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