NAME: Lee Whittam
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CURRENT COMPANY: Essential Africa
It’s always special to see wild dogs on any safari, two sightings on this recent trip to Botswana included a pack of 17 dogs feeding on an impala they had recently killed, and then even more interesting was the single female wild dog at Mombo that has adopted a pair of black backed jackals as her pack and is helping to rear the pups. It just shows you no matter how long you spend in the bush there will always be a surprise. Waiting at the jackal den at Mombo, with a wild dog lying on one side, two adult jackals on the other, 3 jackal pups emerging from the den and hyenas scattered around made for a interesting mix to say the least!
Recently there has been a lot of interest around the single female wild dog at Mombo that has gone against all common logic and adopted a pair of black backed jackals as her pack and is now actively helping to rear the new litter of jackal pups. Several aspects of this are amazing to me, firstly, for those who know the Mombo area you will know that the predator density is extremely high, this in itself makes life as a wild dog, especially a single wild dog very difficult indeed. Usually what would happen to a single wild dog is that they would be pressured by the other predators to move out and seek a less densely populated area to live in or at least include in their home range, they would also seek out other members of their own kind... but form a pack with a different species? It’s hard to say exactly why she has done this and how she manages to continually survive, hunt and provide for others in an area that is literally jam-packed with all the predators you can imagine.