As one of the world most endangered mammals, the (Lycaon pictus) African Wild Dog or "Painted Wolf" is an absolute treasure in Botswana. Whereas as conflicts with people, war and difficult leadership of other sub-Saharan countries has lead to a massive decline in the numbers of wild dogs, Botswana’s population continues to grow though more understanding and good governance.
These social animals are a massive highlight of any safari here and there are places to go that are as close as you can get to a guarantee of seeing them. All our populations are completely wild and untouched and free to roam where they wish. It is their habit forming nature through territory and denning that makes some areas a very good spot to see them.
Generally hunting at first and last light, they start with a frenetic display of social interaction, expressing a recognition of their own in the pack... lots of high pitched chittering, before leading of in a singular direction for a hunt. As this progresses its quite common for them to fan out and maximise their chances of spotting impala which they will run down with great stamina. Any prey is dispatched within seconds and if there are youngsters to feed, then they will skip off back to the den or where the pups have been left, food will then be regurgitated.
Habituated wild dogs are incredibly accepting of a game viewer with guests and will often run right beside you as they march off on their hunts. Watching the interaction between these rare predators and speeding with them whilst they hunt is probably the most exciting time you can have on safari and is a true privilege. Our resident Safari Lifestyles photographer, Roger Turski states wild dogs as his favourite animals and all the photos you can see in the above slide show are his.
Wild dogs are territorial by nature so they never move too far away from their own pack hunting grounds, so you can see them all year... however territories can be quite large so you never really know where they are going to be.
However, they are also habitual by nature and like to use old den sites to rear their young.. its not uncommon to see pup packs of 10 or more each year being born to the alfa male and female only.... The pack starts to look for den site around April... pups are born around July and just a coupe of months or so after this, the pups leave the den site for good and travel with the adults.
Roughly between these two months will probably give you the best chance to see wild dogs in action. Its often fun to stay with the young pups just after they have left the den... When the adults are hunting, these pups are often left alone unguarded in a huddle... you can just wait until the adults return to regurgitate food for them.
Talk to us about how we can get you close to them
Botswana Wildlife Safaris
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