THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . . 24
In appearance this animal is quite large and powerful, Standing between 60 and 80 cm at the shoulder, weighing between 25 and 35 Kg; the muzzle is relativey short and broad with a black stripe leading over the head, the ears rounded and large, legs long and slender, the slender body blotched, black, white and yellow, the tail often ending in a white bush.
The WILD DOG is a diurnal animal, they hunt in packs. Stevenson - Hamiltons said that few wild beasts display more sagacity in pursuit of prey than these. Watch a pack of them in the gray morning light as they quarter the bush in quest of some unsuspecting animal. They ramble along at hounds' pace each individual with head and tail held low, and in perfect silence; a silence which by the way, is seldom broken throughout the whole course of the hunt. On coming on a fresh " line " there is no increase of pace, but the leaders prick their great round ears, and jump at intervals straight up and down to get a view over the top of the grass and low scrub. Now maybe some Impala can be seen down down an aisle of the bush, calmly browsing, and immediately the whole pack spreads out noiselesly in attack formation towards the unsuspecting prey. An ewe raising her head quickly in an interval of feeding, catches sight of one of the sinister forms stealing from bush to bush; she snorts her warning loudly and in a moment , as by one impulse, the pack dashes in. Away in all directions , and in the extremity of terror rush the fleeing antelope, springing high into the air, and in the confusion often impeding one another, in their frantic effort to escape. One or maybe instantly siezed and pulled down, and the rest of the pursuers, splitting up into small detachments, relentlesly chase the unfortunate individuals they have singled out. There seldomnly an escape; gifted with marvellous speed for a short distance and with immense endurance during a long chase, the WILD DOG is served when occasion demands as well by his powers of scent as by it's muscular limbs, fortunate indeed is the creature which, once having formed his quarry, that wins the race. . . . .
The pack lopes along a few metres behind the intended victim, each member in turn spurting up alongside the to spring at the flank or quarter, tear away a mouhful of livingflesh and then drop back level with its companions. Soon exhaustion and loss of blood tell their tale, and the hunted animal falls to the ground, the pursuers now rush in like hounds onto a fox, tearing it to pieces, and evouring it in a very space of time.
Having had their fill, as if by command they wil congregate and return to their den, where they will regurgitate of the freshly caught Impala and share with those who stayed behind.
WILD DOGS are not known to eat carrion, they will gorge the freshly caught meat and leave behind the excess and not return!l
Their usual prey consists of Impala, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Duiker and Steenbuck, when pressed by hunger they will hesitate to attack larger and more formidable species, Waterbuck and Kudu and the young of all often killed.
Although excellent swimmers tehy decline crossing deep water, This un willingness is obviously due to their fear of Crocodiles. Hunted animals seem to be aware of this and often take advantage of this.
The Warden wrote that troops of WILD DOGS often show indefference to man's presence, and a reluctance to retire before him. He put this down to their natural ferocity and fearlesness of the animals.
Hunting dogs when caught young, become quite tame and friendly with their masters, but never seem to lose their wild instincts and when grown up are not ver reliable in temper. W Sanderson once kept two half grown ones, which accompanied him on his hunting trips, but he said he could never teach them real obedience. nor to refrain from running in and tearing at fallen game.
As WILD DOGS live in close packs, they are susceptable to disease and when canine distemper takes its toll, often destroys the whole pack . . . .
Although WILD DOGS, when present in large numbers are a scourge to game, killing, terrifying and scattering it all over the area, they still fill a useful place in Nature's economy, and the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK certainly would be better off with increased numbers who would assist in keeping the game numbers to sustainable levels and weeding out the old and diseased, ensuring that only the strongest and the fittest and the healthiest survive in the delicate balance of the Great Mother . . . . . . .
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
Last edited by gmlsmit on Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.