African Wild Dogs, otherwise known as the ‘Cape Hunting Dog’, ‘Hunting Dogs’ and ‘African Painted Dogs’ are intelligent and gregarious animals found in certain areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. A rare treat for anyone heading off on safari, African Wild Dogs usually hunt at dusk and dawn, but if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them during your early morning game drive, you can expect to see a whole pack of anything up to 40 hungry members.
One of Africa’s most prolific hunters, African Wild Dogs can reach speeds of up to 55kmph when chasing prey, and by working together as a group, they rarely miss an opportunity when it comes to hunting for their next meal. Like most predators, African Wild Dogs play an important role in maintaining a natural balance of animal species, and so they usually target sick and weaker animals, relying on sight rather than scent to pinpoint their prey.
Sadly, like much of Africa’s wildlife, the African Wild Dog is now an endangered species with less than 6,000 remaining in the wild. Charitable organisations such as the African Wildlife Foundation and WWF are trying to protect the African Wild Dog from extinction, and by protecting vital wildlife ‘corridors’ between game reserves and reducing conflict with humans, we can all do our bit to ensure these magnificent creatures survive for future generations.
We were lucky enough to come across a whole pack of African Wild Dogs during our recent visit to Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, and while they refused to pose for the camera, we got a couple of interesting shots of them finishing off their latest meal…