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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:06 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Okavango
I have been inspired by all the lovely pics on this thread that I thought I would add some of my own with a little story...

So in 2006 I started work in the greater KNP in the Sabi Sands. To be specific at Mala Mala. Wild Dog sightings were few and far between and even the trackers jokingly said they didnt exist as it had been years since most had seen any...until the Skukuza pack (well the pack that is seen in the general area) decided to pop in at the end of 2006. Very nice, my favourite animal coincides a visit with my working there. That would have satisfied me just one view of the pack of 17.

Well November of 2006 was the start of great things for this pack and those fortunate to view them. Hunting with wild dogs esp when you can go off road is the best adrenalin rush I have ever had even surpassing a Vic Falls bungee jump. But what no-one realised was that not only were they using this area to hunt but at the same time were checking out suitable areas for denning and when in May (denning period) they were spending a lot of time on the property we knew we had hit the Jackpot and what followed were some of the best experiences I have had and can dream of having. So here are some pics....

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This is a pic (above) of some of the pack at denning time setting out on the evening hunt. They like most of the larger predators seem to prefer the roads to an extent.

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THe pic above is when the pups were really young and as the adults got ready for the hunt, all the excitment at the den resulted in the pups bursting out and then the alpha female came to suckle them. 14 bundles of fur with this alpha female.

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The pic above is arguably the rarest sighting ive had in the park and I was one of 2 rangers to get a view of this behaviour on one hot winters day at about 1030 am when the alpha female decided that the pups needed to be moved to a new termite mound...so one by one she carried all 14 across over a period of about 30 minutes...what amazing moms they are!

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This pic shows the ever growing pups suckling.

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And this pic of the adults which used to go and play and almost tease the pups when the alpha female wasnt around. Sooo cute!

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The pups started eating meat soon and here they are getting some bushbuck meat regurgitated to them.

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Here the pups already picking up the tearing skills that they will need to have mastered by the time they are adults.!


Enjoy...

ps next time I will do a kills section but have many more pics like these and oh if you are interested there is a lot of info about this pack that I wrote up a few pages back!

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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:36 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Rustenburg
What a sighting dog!

My dream sighting is to witness a wild dog kill but this one is almost as good as a kill. To see those young ones just bring a smile to my face.

Well done, you are one ahead of me with that sighting, absolutely brilliant! :clap:

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Returning to Kruger in December 2013!!!


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:28 pm
Posts: 91
Location: Johannesburg
I was at the prize giving held at Johannesburg Country Club on 09/06/2009 This was to do with the recent census held on Wild Dog and Cheetah in KNP. The 3 top winners were no nessessarily the best pictures, but rather the most informative ones and they were well done i must say.

Briefly, some provisional info has been released:

There are only about 140 WD in the whole of KNP and these are in 19 different packs. One of these packs was sighted in the Pafuri region a while ago and only once. It is believed that they have moved off back into Zimbabwe. By far most of the packs are sighted south of the Sabie river.

The highest count was about 15 years back and this was around 405 dogs. One of the influences in WD numbers is rainfall. They seem to do better in times of drought. This count is however, up from the last one. This effectively means that there are only 38 breeding dogs in the whole of KNP ( 38 alpha dogs). A sustainable population is also thought to be at least 500 WD! Warning signs.

Indiscriminate snaring is thought to also have a negative impact on the WD numbers. A number of pictures were unfortunately taken of dogs with snares on them.

The average territory for WD is around 500km2 whilst it is around 250km2 for Cheetah. There are roughly the same amount of Cheetah in the park as WD.

There have been reports of WD sightings on the Moz side of the park. These animals are, however ,continuously on the move so accurate information is not available. There were no sightings in the N part of the Moz side of the park.

Interestingly enough regarding the Cheetah, the litter size seems to be larger than expected with litters of 6 cubs not uncommon! 40% of the Cheetah sighted were below 1 year of age.

And King Cheetah? Well there was only one sighting photographed and this was near Lower Sabie. But it doesnt end there people. It has subsequently transpired that this was a hoax. It was taken at a Cheetah breeding establishment. What an idiot.

These were just provisional information and more detailed scientific information will be published in the near future.

I trust you will all find thus very interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:39 am 
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Posts: 91
Location: Johannesburg
That number is from the photos sent in yes. Due to the fact that there are so few WD in the park and due to their nomadic status, convensional counting methods are not very accurate.

They did attampt to use a program that is used in the Serengeti to count Cheetah but this was found to be too difficult to use. They found that the human touch was needed.

What made it even more difficult is that the two sides of a WD are very different. They had to painstakinly match the 2 sides of the dog to make 1 dog. And these are from different photographs taken by different people at different locations!


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:27 pm 
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Posts: 38
o-dog wrote:
I have heard unoficial reports of females having upto 18 pups, otherwise this pack did well bringing up 11 of 14 pups to 5/6 months of the age!


The largest litter cited in litterature is 22...

I agree with you on the adrenaline kick when following WD on a hunt. I'm also allowed to do that off-road (but limited here because of the vegetation), can compare it to a bungee at Vic Falls (done that too) and WD pups are just the best! Know of at least 3 very pregnant females here at the moment! Here = the Luangwa Valley in Zambia.
We know about 13 packs in the area, but more unconfirmed packs (no pix) are suspected to be around.


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:11 pm 
Hey, noel!

Egilio and others could give more info here, but the important thing is that just because the female has 18 or 22 pups, it doesn't mean they are all raised successfully! :wink:

Depending on the area, the survival rate would be from 30 to 70%, I reckon, like most predators!

Kruger would seem to have a very low survival rate, lately, looking at Aquilla's figures... :?

I think they have some unique problems due to their nomadic nature: big litters from the alpha pair only leave a greater risk of genetic weakness regarding infections, and obviously the potential of any infection reaching all pups.

Also, despite the dogs using random dens, should one be found by lions etc., that's it...end of that year's "crop"...


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:08 pm 
An interesting bit of Africana from down in the "quizes", regarding pack sizes in Kruger, and early photographic contributions...

Image

This from CUSTOS, the old SANPARKS magazine, 1978!


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:06 pm 
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they prefer living in the southern part anyone know why??

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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:17 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
Probably more food there.

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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 5:21 pm
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Location: Cumbria/Northumberland border, UK
I've only just re-apeared on this forum and the question was asked a while ago so maybe I'm a bit late but as to how the pack raised a litter of 14 pups.

In domestic dogs and in wolves (and in many other species I'm sure) a female can have what it known as a false preganancy, this is where her body goes through all the changes that occur in a pregnant female including producing milk. It's quite common for wolf pups to be suckled by another member of the pack, and domestic dogs can be used as surrogate mothers to orphaned puppies and there have been instances of bitches adopting other animals.

In my book The African Wild Dog, behaviour, ecology and conservation by Scott Creel and Nancy Marusha Creel there is mention of there is mention of a subordinate female lactating and suckling the pups of another female (chapter 9 pg 214).

Sam

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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:01 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg
Hi Sammylou

Thank you for this bit of information, just what I have been waiting to hear. Given that packs can raise such a big litter, the question goes begging again, why do their numbers remain so low?
Will try and get my hands on that book.

Enjoy your evening.

Cheers

Noel


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Hi Noel

Of only really having a year and halfs experience of following wild wild dogs, albeit an intense bunch of sightings of which I recorded much info, and subsequently got reports since, giving about 3 years of info for the pack that frequents the area around Skukuza northwards I would make the following conclusions as to what limited this pack's size...

Firstly I think the wet/dry cycle plays the biggest role as it obviously determines weakness of game (thereby easiness with which to catch) and then ofcourse thicker bush would allow for ambush by lions, of which 3 deaths due to this was officially recorded for this pack.
In other words in drier years the pack would get bigger as food wouldnt be limiting and predator avoidance would be maximised.

In South Africa, historically packs have been upto even a hundred or more...in the Sabi Sands a pack was about 60 animals in the mid 20th century. It was in the 19th century, that the early hunters recorded the even larger packs. I am sure that food availablility has a major role in determining pack size and would think that the great SPringbok herds as well as larger herds of other species would have been one of the reasons why packs could get so large.
I have no scientific evidence, but from what I have seen with regard to the amount of meat this particular pack that I viewed, consumed, I would say that 'bushbuck' was there main food source (killed about 50 in 2 months over the denning period along the sand river), and that this prey specie (bushbuck) and adopted hunting strategy only allowed for an optimum size of about 12 dogs per pack. Just to repeat, this is not for an official PHD etc it was a small experiment based on many observations and simple statistics.
Ofcourse, territory size will be important and one wonders if although as large as KNP is, if perhaps the dogs home ranges are still negatively being affected.

Egilio seems to have a lot of interesting info and from what I have read of his and the little I know about the Luangwa it is/would be of no surprise if the packs were larger in that part of Africa...availability of food-perhaps more open savanna these days ETC??

I am also sure that the bush encroachment has negatively impacted this species in the last 15 years. It is scary how quickly many partially open areas have been/are getting clogged up with Combretums and Terminalias in the Park...I am sure a big factor leading to lower carrying capacities of this animals.



Anyway further thoughts of mine...


What defines a wild dog hunt??
In my experience of 30 wild dog hunts upwards for a single pack that I got to know well, taking each individual animal singled out and chased vs success of catching them I would say that this species doesnt have as much of a success rate as is claimed. In fact I would put it down less than 50% of the time for this pack. In the average hunt this pack would come across a few herds impala, some kudu, a couple of duikers and a steenbok or two. You could follow them for 2 hours where they would go about chasing these animals madly making many unsuccessful attempts...then suddenly they would hit the thick reeds of the river bed and pull down 2 bushbuck in seconds. So although they had been running madly on one hunt session, the number of attempts was large, and probably almost as 'bad' as that of lions.
Then the next day the pack would bring down 3 impala rams in an hour out of far fewer attempts. I just think that its hard to monitor hunts properly in the thick savanna. :roll:
8)

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KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:45 pm 
Lots of questions here! :shock: 8)

My 2 cents worth:

The points made indicating variability regarding hunting from Luangwa to Sabie-Sands to Kruger South vs North would have to indicate a large degree of adaptability by these animals once they have relatively safe/large areas within which to roam.

They are without any shadow of doubt statistically, historically and physically far more common in the South of Kruger than any other area of the Park, possibly in the world!

Perhaps this is due to the superabundance of impala in that area, leaving little need for competition from other predators.


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:49 pm
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Location: somewhere in Bavaria
Hi everybody!
We had our best wilddog sighting in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National park!
That was amazing!
We found the dogs early in the morning, the sun was shining and there was something in the grass - we could not see!
Suddenly the dogs were on the road! 9 of them! WOW!!!
We forgot our breakfast and followed the dogs about 1 hour!
Then we lost them in the bush - but that was an unforgettable morning!
At the moment there is a lot of dog activity in this park and i hope to see them in December 2009!!!

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Enjoy the pics!

Karin

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PLEASE NO HOTELS in KNP and PLEASE don´t change KNP into a Funpark!

KNP - Eyes and tracks behind the bush


Last edited by Elsa on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pics resized.


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 Post subject: Re: African Wild Dog
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:04 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
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Here two of my wilddog photos made in December 2008 in KNP, however I can't remember exactly where it was.
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Image


Last edited by Elsa on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pic resizing.


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