Mfuwe Lodge has been treated to frequent sightings of the Kaingo pack of wild dogs this season. The cold dry season is denning time for African wild dogs and in early May the heavily pregnant alpha female decided on a den site just over 6 km away from the lodge and so the pack was seen hunting regularly in the main game veiwing area before running back to provision their new pups with regurgitated meat after each successful hunt.
Dogs typically den for 3 months and can use several dens, rarely using the same one each year. They also often choose locations far away from high prey density areas, presumably to avoid lion and hyena threats to their pups. So we were very lucky to have them den so close to the main game viewing area. With the denning period finished the pack of 7 dogs, plus the 4 pups, are now mobile, resuming their extensive range of 100’s of square kilometers of SLNP.
This can be a dangerous period for the new pups that are still relatively small and new to this wide-ranging lifestyle; lion often are responsible for the majority of pup mortality in many wild dog populations across the continent and Kaingo shares its homerange with over half a dozen prides of lions. But under the experienced and watchful eyes of their many relatives we hope the pups can survive and help to raise their brothers and sisters in next year’s Kaingo litter.
The pack and pups have been and will continue to be closely monitored by the research team at Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP), and with the help of Reconyx remote camera traps.
Photos by Egil Droge of ZCP and Nick Garbutt