We recently had some unexpected visitors to Umkhumbi Lodge: two Wild Dogs were spotted by the reserve manager in Kuleni on the 21st September. This caused some excitement! The only large carnivore at Kuleni is a couple of leopards that include the game park in their home ranges. The two wild dogs killed an impala and stayed for a while before moving on. It is unknown where they came from, but it is likely to be from one of the nearby Big 5 game reserves: possibly Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park or Mkhuze Game Reserve. Wild Dogs are a species of canine present through much of sub-Saharan Africa; the African equivalent of a wolf. They are highly social animals, living and hunting in closely knit packs. It is unknown why there were only 2 individuals seen. Possibly it is a male and female that have split off from a larger group, but this is pure speculation.
The African Wild Dog also goes by the name of the Cape Hunting Dog or the Painted Wolf. Their numbers are in decline due to loss of habitat and disease. With their tendency to escape fenced game reserves and roam widely, they unfortunately come into contact with domestic dogs where they can pick up canine diseases. They are not large dogs, weighing only up to about 30 kgs. They hunt in packs, large numbers being able to take larger prey, but mostly preferring small antelope. To see Wild Dogs hunt is a sight not many can forget. It is both a thing of beauty and horror. They move like liquid, turn like a school of fish and move at great speed. When they catch their prey they will eviscerate it and tear it apart swiftly.
It’s not the first time we have had Wild Dogs on Kuleni Game Reserve. A couple of years ago there were four animals that had come from the Mkhuze area. At that time they stayed for a few weeks, visiting several of the neighbouring properties, hunting and killing many animals, mostly impala. Who knows when they will visit again?!
Umkhumbi Lodge – Hluhluwe accommodation
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