This morning the dogs beat us to it, they had left the den in the dark to go hunting. But we got lucky and intercepted them on our way up there. With the new moon approaching the dogs have obviously not tried to hunt in the dark and ventured out in the daytime for a change and much to my joy.
Dogs hunting in the day is something I’ve been waiting for and today we had it! The Alpha female led the rest of the pack south of Manyuchi pan where we intercepted them. They continued south well into the territory of the other pack of wild dogs, and not far from their den. We lost them heading east into the hills.
When this happens I usually wait a while in the area hoping to hear something or hoping the dogs will come back. I was just about to pour some coffee when an impala came bolting passed us with a wild dog hot on its heels and 2 other dogs were running further to the front probably trying to intercept it. We gave chase too but in no time we had lost the dogs. We kept going in the direction we had lost them. 5 minutes later a dog came back east. We followed. Soon the whole pack were together again resting near the road and obviously unsuccessful.
Chasing around after these guys in this terrain puts huge pressure on the vehicle let alone me driving behind the wheel. I get shaken to pieces but have actually fitted a special seat that is used in tractors and has its own suspension. This is the only thing that saves my back with all this off-road driving.
The dogs only rested about 5 minutes and headed east again. We followed in our very bumpy way. Ahead of us through the bushes we saw a cloud of dust and the dogs had surprised some zebra. They gave up on them and instead showed interest in some eland. All of this was visible through some bush as we tried to negotiate our way to an area clear enough to be able to film. Well by the time we got there the whole party was over and of course the cameraman had nothing to show for it. So it goes, day after day, but just wait, I WILL GET LUCKY!!!
And that was it. We lost the dogs for the rest of the day.
I thought they might have gone down to Malilangwe dam but alas no joy there.
As usual the dam was humming with activity. The hippo were out sun basking. So were some small crocs sharing a little island with White-faced Ducks. Yellow-billed Storks and Spoonbills were grouped together preening themselves. Egyptian geese kept up the audio making the normal racket that is a part of Malilangwe dam. Marabou Storks, Grey herons, Goliath Herons and Great White Egrets patrolled the shallow waters. And Pied Kingfishers were hovering and diving for little fish without much success.
The atmosphere at the dam is always so soothing with the water, the animals and all the birds.
Of course there was also a herd of impala grazing on the short grass surrounding the dam as I wished to see the wild dogs hunting in this open country with the stunning backdrop of the sandstone cliffs. But alas that didn’t happen.
Back at the den in the afternoon the adults had still not returned! The alpha pups were entertaining themselves with old pieces of skin, twigs and anything they could drag along for team sport. BB’s pups kept close to the den doing much the same but in their much smaller way.
When we left the den at nightfall the alpha pups were curled up in their 6-pack ball and the BB pups in theirs all looking rather miserable and dejected wondering when and if the adults would return. Hungry little pups they all were.