The Wonders of the African Wild Dog at Jabulani

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African wild dogs are one of the world’s most endangered animal – listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, due to a variety of different reasons including human-wildlife conflict, being caught in snares as bycatch by poachers hunting for meat, habitat loss, and infectious diseases like canine distemper and rabies. They once roamed a range across 39 countries, with population numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Currently, there are fewer than 6,000 individuals left in the wild, and forming fewer than 700 packs. The largest wild dog populations remain in southern Africa and the southern part of East Africa (especially Tanzania and parts of northern Mozambique). We are privileged to provide a home here for them in our private and protected reserve at Jabulani.

A pack of African wild dogs consist of a group of wild dogs lead by a fruitful pair (alpha male and alpha female). The pair is responsible for reproducing and re-establishing the next generation of dogs within the pack. Litters can range between 4 and 12 pups. Smaller packs do occur of up to 3 member and some packs can branch out to as many as 20 individuals, but this all depends on the environment that they are living in and the availability of food sources and the threat of other larger predators, especially lions.

They are highly social animals and are opportunistic predators that hunt medium-sized antelope, particularly impala. While on a hunt, African wild dogs can reach speeds while sprinting of +/- 70 km/hour. The dogs will regurgitate meat to feed other members of the pack including pups, injured individuals and pregnant females. All the dogs within the pack contribute towards the care of the newly born pups, as the pups are vital for the future survival of the pack.

Among other large African carnivores (lions, hyenas, cheetahs and leopards), wild dogs plays a vital role in the ecosystem by controlling ungulate species (hoofed mammals) from causing habitat destruction and overfeeding. These species include; impala, greater kudu, Thomson’s gazelle, nyala and blue wildebeest in some instances.

African wild dogs are all-rounder predators, specialising in a range of habitats including short-grass plains, semi-desert, bushy savannas and highland forest areas. On our reserve we have been fortunate to see two different packs (one pack of 7 members and one pack of 4 members). But is important to note that we may not always have sightings of them because they are not resident on the reserve as wild dogs are roamers and move across large areas sometimes travelling over 50km in a single day looking for food…

Join us on a search for the African wild dog during a Jabulani safari…

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