Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wild dogs

I didn't realise, back in January, how lucky we were to see a pack of wild dogs in the Kruger Park. I've since met South Africans who've been going to game parks all their lives and have never seen a wild dog. They're an endangered species, with less than six thousand estimated to still be alive in the wild - they need to hunt over large territories, because they catch their prey by chasing them to exhaustion - so small parks can't sustain them, and farmers have poisoned most of the packs attempting to live outside of conservation areas.

Are wild dogs (also known as Painted Dogs) attractive or ugly? I thought at first they were a bit repulsive, with their big heavy heads (they have the fiercest bite of any carnivore, related to body size) - but the more I see of them the more I like them - there are a couple in Joburg zoo - and now I think that their markings are wonderful, really very much like various cans of paint have been thrown at them. My friend Rod Burn was showing me some of his excellent wildlife photos today and gave me permission to post some of his pix of wild dogs in the wild - they're much better than the blurry ones I took.

No comments: