Deep in the heart of the mopane woodlands in Kruger’s Klaserie Private Nature Reserve; a wild dog den site was discovered. The African wild dog is on the critically endangered list, which is why extra precautions were taken to ensure the survival of the pups. Rangers agreed to maintain a 30 m distance from the area, allow only one access route and one vehicle at a time.
Watch the pups emerge from the den (0:31) Video by Kevin MacLaughlin, ranger at Tree Camp and Africa on Foot.
Facts about Wild Dogs
- Wild dogs give birth in disused aardvark burrows
- They engage in cooperative breeding. This means the entire clan helps to protect and raise the newborn pups. Pups only emerge from the den site after a couple of months.
- Only the alpha male and female mate, while the remainder of the pack take it in turns to hunt and guard the den.
- Adult hunters will feast on a kill and return to the den site to regurgitate whole chunks of meat into the mouths of the pups.
“I’ve often seen documentaries of what happens at a wild dog den, but I’ve never seen it in real life. It’s incredible to watch the dynamics within the pack. Seeing how they all work together to ensure the survival of their pups, and ultimately their pack, is really something special. This has to be right up there with my most memorable memories out in the bush.” – Kevin MacLaughlin, game ranger.
There are now two wild dog pups roaming free in the Klaserie and in the coming months we’ll see them venture into far-flung territories.