When I returned to the den around midnight I found the dogs had faces covered in blood. A successful hunt and they were in the process of feeding the pups.
I have tried on numerous occasions to follow the dogs hunting at night and it becomes a mission impossible. But will keep trying.
They hunted last night with the moon again which seems to be the time they are most successful. In other areas wild dogs will hunt with the moon but not often. Our dogs are probably hunting more at night because in this area of Malilangwe Reserve there is very little lion presence, lions being their main adversaries.
The rest of the night at the Wild Dog hotel, was quiet. But around dawn there was a mass awakening and mass greeting and begging for food from the adults. BB was running screaming/begging from an adult and was soon shoved aside by the Alpha female. She kept pushing her from the side trying to bowl her over and force her into submission. The Alpha female continuously pushes her rank around with BB and BB has no option but to oblige.
BB is an old dog, she has puppies, and the Alpha females’ behaviour towards, her all make me think that BB might have been the previous alpha female of the pack.
From the first day when the Alpha female took 2 of BB’s pups out the den I always thought she was trying to kill BB’s pups as Alpha female’s often do if another female in the pack has puppies.
But those thoughts have vanished as the Alpha female will regurgitate meat to the pups in the den and today she carried two of BB’s pups back to the den after they had wandered a way off. She also spent some time in the den with BB’s pups. (Is her behaviour towards them changing? Is she trying to take them over from BB which could be instigating the aggressive behaviour towards BB? Will she possibly come into milk again and start feeding BB’s pups?)
The pups ran off at play but one of them was left behind. Well he only realised he’d been left behind some time after the others had disappeared in the nearby bushes. Even though there were several adults lying around the den and BB’s pups were in the den, this little guy was getting frantic. Where were his friends? He ran around the anthill numerous times whining all the time. He desperately needed to find them but didn’t know where to start. Eventually they came bounding back and he was a happy camper. But it just shows how strong the bond is between these youngsters and how they will stick together all the time. Well when they can.
While it was a leisurely morning at the den, Doby doesn’t seem to be getting better. She still hasn’t fed. That’s several days now. Her wound is being kept clean by another adult that spent about 15minutes licking and nibbling at it this morning. Doby seemed to appreciate the attention, but after a while she got up and with a very wobbly gait she moved slowly to another patch of shade.
The afternoon didn’t produce many surprises either. Nobody seemed interested in going hunting at dusk, probably waiting for later when the moon is up.
The pups are looking well fed and haven’t harassed BB’s pups today and taking over their suckling time.
Doby spent the day in her hole and ventured out at sunset looking even worse. It’s so sad to see her go like this but there’s nothing that can be done. It seems like she might have got an infection into her spine once the tip of her tail fell off and now she’s just wasting away.